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Full text of "Forest minstrel"

FROM THE LIBRARY OF 
REV. LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON, D. D. 

BEQUEATHED BY HIM TO 

THE LIBRARY OF 

PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY 



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THE FOREST MINSTREL. 






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FOREST MINSTREL, 



BY ^^ 

MRS. LYDIA JANE PEIRSON. 



EDITED BY 



REV. B. S. SCHNECK. 



[The avails of this edition are consecrated by the Authoress to 
religious benevolence.] 



PHILADELPHIA: 

J. W. MOORE, 138 CHESTNUT STREET. 

HARRrSBURG : W. O. HICKOK. 

18 46. 



Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1846, 

By the Rev. B. S. Schneck, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Eastern District 

of Pennsylvania. 



C SHERMAN, PRINTER, 

19 St. James Street. 



PREFACE. 



The productions of Mrs. Peirson are just beginning to attract 
general notice among the lovers of poetry. It is true, that her 
occasional effusions in the literary and other journals, for a 
number of years past, had drawn forth expressions of very 
high approbation, from persons whose opinions were entitled to 
unqualified respect. But when it is recollected, that the mass 
of newspaper poetry is justly regarded as mere trash — rhyme 
without sentiment, and sickly sentimentality without substance 
or sense — it is easy to conceive, that a writer of a higher tone 
and order is placed in disadvantageous circumstances, when 
forced to breathe in such an unnatural atmosphere, and in such 
company. Mrs. Peirson, moreover, has been secluded for many 
years from all direct intercourse with the world of letters and 
the arts, and had no personal friends at her side, to call the 
attention of the public mind in the outset to her Mountain- Lay. 
Hers was a "voice in the wilderness;" and although an occa- 
sional listener adjudged that voice to utter 

" Thoughts that breathe and words that burn," 

yet there were few who knew even her name and residence,* 
and fewer still her intellectual and moral excellence and worth. 
Besides all this, she had, for a series of years, been severely 
disciplined in the school of affliction. In His mysterious but all- 

• Liberty, Tioga county, Pa., in the extreme northwest of the state. 
* 



VI PREFACE. 

wise and beneficent providence, it pleased her Heavenly Father 
to lay His hand heavily upon her, until nearly all of earth's joys 
and comforts had taken to themselves wings and fled away. 
The night-clouds of adversity settled thick and dark around 
her, and to any other than a spiritual vision, the rough winds, 
which passed like repeated tempests over her pathway, seemed 
far from being " tempered to the shorn lamb." And the great- 
est wonder to the writer of these lines, during this protracted 
season of her dark pilgrimage, has always been, that she should 
have had either time or inclination to attune her lyre at all f 
and that the productions of her pen at that time, written as they 
generally were with a weary hand, with a more weary heart, 
and, for the most part, at the flickering light of the midnight 
lamp, should possess even a moderate share of merit, which, 
at least in reference to many of them, is far below a just esti- 
mate. Did feelings of delicacy towards the fair author not 
forbid, the editor might enter into greater detail on this point, 
and unveil to the readers of these pages circumstances, which, 
he is assured, would be as thrillingly interesting to them as they 
would be honourable to her. But this may not be. 

Let it suffice to say, therefore, that these sore trials, through 
which she passed, did not prostrate the native energy of her 
spirit, but, as is fondly trusted and believed, chastened and pu- 
rified — exalted and ennobled it. She underwent a discipline in 
the school of heaven, which enabled her to enter, more fully 
and deeply than before, into the higher, holier departments of 
poetry and song. 

A number of pieces in this volume were penned at the time 
alluded to. They need not be pointed out ; — the reader will 
easily recognise them. They are the spontaneous overflowings 
of a pious heart, not the chiselled, frigid, affected strains of those 
who attempt to describe what they have not felt or seen, or felt 
superficially, and seen only in twilight. Nor yet is it an irre- 
gular, violent gush of feeling, that is uncontrolled and uncon- 
trollable — disregarding ornament, or despising refinement, or 



PREFACE. Vli 

trampling under foot the graces, or offending against the nicer 
and nobler feelings of well-balanced minds. None of these. 
And if the reader does not find in this little volume specimens, 
not few in number, which will bear comparison with the pro- 
ductions of the most popular and gifted of American poets, the 
editor can only say, that he would exceedingly regret having 
been instrumental in adding another book to the many already 
in the world, which had far better evaporated in the inkstand 
than moulded on the shelf. He has himself no poetical reputa- 
tion either to lose or gain, but he ventures to repeat the judg- 
ment pronounced upon Mrs. Peirson by a gentleman whose 
poetical talents and fine taste are acknowledged both in Europe 
and America. " She is," said he, " as natural and graceful in 
the field of poetry as a child, without exhibiting signs of weak- 
ness or effeminacy. Some of these descriptions [he had only a 
few pieces before him] are in fact master-strokes. Her rural 
home in the wild woods of the Allegheny Mountains, has un- 
doubtedly had much to do in making her the natural, pictu- 
resque, and whole-souled writer that she is." 

It may not be improper to remark, that some kind friends in 
Philadelphia issued a volume of her lighter compositions, some 
time ago, with the title of " Forest Leaves." As far as the 
writer knows, that work has met with very considerable favour. 
The one now issued is of a more grave and decidedly religious 
tone and character, and, unless he is greatly mistaken, will be 
received with increased favour by the public. She has longed 
and ardently desired that her muse might be subservient to the 
glory of God and the welfare and happiness of man. In a letter 
addressed to the writer some time ago, in which she proposed 
for the first time to place in his hands the manuscripts com- 
posing these pages, she said: "It has been one of the chief 
desires and the oft-repeated prayer of my heart, that it might 
please my Heavenly Father to allow me the blissful pleasure, 
in my poor attempts with the peiL, to do good. Gold and silver 
have I none to offer upon the altar of the many Christian charities 



Vlll PREFACE. 

of the day. But should you think that the proposed little vo- 
lume, after a candid perusal, would meet with acceptance from 
the public, the avails of it shall be laid at the Redeemer's feet — 
and O God ! thou knowest how cheerfully !" 

Injustice to Mrs. Peirson, it ought perhaps to be mentioned, 
that some of these compositions — mostly those towards the 
close of the volume — were not prepared for this work. Finding, 
however, that the furnished MSS. did not fill as many pages as 
the editor had stipulated for with the publisher, he selected 
from among those which had appeared in several public journals 
such as seemed best to comport with the general character of 
the work. Some of these were, of course, hastily written, and 
would probably have undergone some finishing process, had 
circumstances permitted. 

With these remarks, the ''Forest Minstrel" is commended 
to the regards of an enlightened Christian public, with the 
sincere prayer to the Father of all mercies, that its contents 
may minister profit as well as delight to all its readers. 

THE EDITOR. 

Cliambersburg, March 6, 1846. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

My Trophies, - - - - - - - 13 

The Three Mary's, 16 

The Lord's Prayer, , - - - - 41 

Voice of the Lord, ------ 43 

God is Here, - - - - - - - 45 

Ruth, - 48 

To a Lock of Hair, - - - - - 49 

Musings, - - - - - - - 52 

Awake! Thou that sleepest, - - - - 55 

To the " Weekly Messenger," - - 56 

The Spirit of Poesy, ------ 58 

Child of Sorrow, - - - - - 60 

The Spirit of Beauty, - - - - - - 61 

Queen Mary's Musings, ----- 63 

To the "Hartford Columbian," ... 71 

The Three Crowns, -. - - - 74 

A Dream, ------- 77 

The Wind, - - - - - - 81 

To the Sedoleo, 84 

My Old Letters, - - - - - - 86 

Sing On! - - - - - - - 105 

Dreams, ------- 108 

Hymn for Christmas, - - - - - - 110 

Life's Changes, ------ 112 



X CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

Jesu3 Walking on the Water, - - - - 116 

He Died, 119 

A Thought of God, 125 

The Shipwreck, * - 128 

To a broken Tulip, 142 

The Angel of the Past, ... - . 144 
To the Memory of T. W. White, late Editor of the South- 
ern Literary Messenger, ----- 146 

The Dying Soldier, 147 

Calista, - *&-* - - - - . - 150 

Jesus, Friend of Sinners, ----- 154 

To the " Banner of the Cross," ... - 155 

The Hunter, - - . - - 156 

To Anna, - - - - - - - 162 

The House of Prayer, ----- 163 

.Winter, - - - . - - - - 165 

Spring, 167 

Come to the Woods, ------ 170 

The Sister to the Bride, ----- 173 

The Pitcher-Plant, - - - - - ,-176 

Forgotten, ------- 179 

Marah, - - - - - - - - 187 

Friend of the Friendless, ----- 190 

The Violet, - - - - - - - 191 

Come unto Me ! - - - - - - 192 

The Sisters, ------- 195 

The last Pale Flowers, ----- 198 

The Rose and Maiden, - - - - - 199 

One Day in Thy Courts, ----- 201 

The Winter Wind, - - - - - - 203 

The Church, ...... 205 

Fame, - - - - - - - - 206 

Life, - - - - - - - 208 

To Him who said God bless you ! 209 



CONTENTS. 

The Ruined Heart, ..... 

To Mrs. S . A Comment on her Words, "My First 

born Son," in a Letter to the Author (1838), 
Centenary Hymn. Composed for the Centennial Celebration 

of the German Reformed Church (1841), 
Summer, Farewell !----- 

The Maiden to her Mother, - - -^. 

The Woman to her Grand-daughter, 

On hearing a Bluebird sing, - 

To Him who presented to me a Pen, 

The Angel's Visit, 

The Revelation, ------ 

To Mrs. Sigourney (1844), ... - 

The Battle-Field, 

The Little Brook, ----- 
Lines. Suggested by the perusal of an article in the Satur 

day Morning Visiter, entitled " To Weep," 
Lines addressed to H. F. M., on the Death of his Mother, 
To Ann, - - 

On the New Year, - - 

Death, ------- 

The Sabbath School Teachers, - 

To the British Queen, .... 



210 

211 

213 
215 
217 

218 
220 
221 
222 
226 
228 
230 
239 

243 
245 
247 
251 
255 
256 
261 



THE 



FOREST MINSTREL, 



MY TROPHIES. 

My heart was breaking then — but the strong Soul 
Put bonds upon the trembler, and stood up 
Shaming its anguish with a scornful smile, 
And proudly spurning Sorrow's tearful cup. 

Weak one ! she cried, wilt thou be so subdued ? 
And bend abjectly thus to gilded Pride? 
Hast thou no wealth or worth in thy deep mines, 
That thou shouldst faint, this tinsel god beside? 

Go down, and from thy burning depths bring up 
The native melodies that nestle there ; 
Set those wild prisoners free, and let them spread 
Their vocal pinions to the native air. 
2 



14 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Ay — send the timid creatures out, to brave 
The winds that heave and plume the surging waste 
Of this world's deluge, where the Dove of heaven 
Has sought, and seeks in vain, a place of rest. 

And some amongst the number will return 
With Trophies of green leaves from living trees, 
Whose glorious heads, with never-fading wreaths 
O'ertop the foam-crests of the billowy seas. 

And each such Trophy shall be unto thee 
More precious than Golconda's richest gem, 
And o'er thy brow shall shed a purer light 
Than empires' most resplendent diadem. 

.And it shall dim the shine of yellow gold, 
As day's broad glory hides the feeble star ; 
And thy name written on each radiant leaf, 
Shall down time's shadowy valley flash afar. 

Ah ! thou shalt stand before the scorner then, 
In that effulgent light ; and he shall own 
The majesty of the immortal wreath 
By thy high heart and dauntless spirit won. 

Then he shall feel how worthless and how base 
Appear the restless treasures of the mine, 
Beside those living gems, which shall endure 
To distant ages— and be always thine. 

My heart responded to that spirit voice, 
And sent its timid angels, one by one, 
Out o'er the world's cold billow, list'ning long 
To each wild echo of their native tone. 



UY TROPHIES. 15 

My heart grew faint with watching, day by day, 
For the returning of the mission'd birds, 
While on the calm of cold indifference came 
Reproachful whisperings and derisive words. 

O there were deep and wringing agonies — 
Regret, and bitterness, and burning tears, 
Yet still I hoped — and lo ! my wandering doves 
Came home triumphant after many years. 

And then I turned, to dazzle with my gems 
The eyes that once had scorned me. Holy heaven ! 
Those eyes are dark and soulless, — Ah ! 'tis true 
The heart is ruined, and the spirit riven. 

The haughty soul is quenched ; and in the halls 
Where intellect sat, proud in godlike might, 
The gibbering phantoms of insanity 
Hold hideous revel in eternal night. 

And where is now my triumph? Ah, Lord God ! 
For what ignoble ends we waste our life, 
And thy most precious gifts, when human pride 
And human passions urge us to the strife ! 

When gems that should be consecrate to Thee 
Are vainly offered at a mortal shrine, 
Till the poor idols, crumbling back to dust, 
Mock the weak faith which fancied it divine ; 

And falls like charnel-dust, so cold and foul 
Upon the heart that madly worshipped there, 
And lies above its beauty and its hopes, 
The black corroding ashes of despair. 



V 



16 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

heavenly Father ! may I now presume 

To lay my worthless Trophies on Thy shrine? 

Behold ! I cast them at Thine altar's foot, 

And my heart with them. — Father ! make them Thine ! 



THE THREE MARY'S. 

They stood beside the cross — the cruel cross, 

That instrument of agony and death, 

So dreadful, so protracted, so intense, 

So mingling with intolerable pain, 

The mad'ning thirst of fever and the weight 

Of weariness, — until the victim sends 

Each sobbing breath out, with a groaning prayer 

That God will let him die. 

'Twere terrible 
To stand beside the cross, though on it hung 
The veriest fiends that ever cursed the earth 
With power to sin and suffer. Oh ! the soul 
Grows faint and sick, and shrinks into itself, 
If bold imagination shadow forth 
Such scene of torment. Weak humanity 
Would veil such hideous picture; but the voice, 
The weary husky voice, struggling at times 
Into a piercing scream of such distress 
As speaks the fiercest form of agony — 
This voice is in the soul. 

The cross ! the cross ! 
Fond woman oft has stood beside the cross, 
With heart and spirit dying with the pain 
That wore away the life of her belov'd, 






THE THREE MARYS. 17 

Her good, her beautiful, her precious one. — 
They stood beside the cross, — beneath the cross 
On which the object of their love, their faith, 
Their worship, was expiring. 

Many hearts 
Had built their faith and ardent hopes on him ; 
Had followed as he tracked the rugged ways 
From city unto city ; — witnessing 

The deeds that proved his mission. — Where were they ? 
Oh coward hearts ! They had not strength to be 
Beside the cross. — -They had not nerve to bear 
The sympathy of such exquisite wo ; — 
They had net courage to acknowledge him, 
Who was despised, condemned, and crucified, 
Their Friend, their Lord, and Master. Even those 
Who had professed to him so earnestly : 
We will not be offended, or deny 
That we are thine, though we should die with thee, — 
Even these forsook him in his hour of need, 
And Jled. One only of that craven band, 
The youngest, tenderest-hearted, best beloved, 
Stood with a heart like woman's, strong in love, 
Beside the cross that day. But they were there, 
The women, in whose bosoms earnest faith 
Leaned on adoring love. — No fear of death, 
Of shame or pain, could keep them from his side. 
Devoted woman in her calendar 
Reads no such words, as " Hide thyself for fear !"— 
She cannot say, " I do not know the man," 
When danger gathers round a friend she loves ; 
But closer still she nestles to his sida, 
And gentler flow her words, as with soft hand 
She seeks to lay sweet balm on every wound 
2* 



# 



18 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

That malice may inflict. She cannot save — 

But she will soothe, and solace, and sustain 

With strength that never fails — the strength of love. 

They knew that he was great ; that he had pow'r 
To bind the viewless pinions of the wind, 
The free strong wind — that he had pow'r to hush 
The frantic billows of the stormy sea, 
As with calm majesty he waved his hand 
And uttered his commandment, " Peace — Be still '" 
That he controlled the fiercest of the fiends 
That torture human nature ; that disease 
Was subject to him ; that the spring of life 
Gushed up afresh within the silent heart, 
And poured its thrilling current, warm and free, 
Along the trembling nerves at his command. 

They knew that he was. worthy to be feared, 
And knelt unto in worship. Man knew this. — 
But there's a holier chord in woman's heart, 
A quick perception of the good, the pure, 
The great, the spiritually beautiful, 
Which, with the distant homage of the soul, 
Blends the near worship of the ardent heart — 
The heart, which asks no questions of the past, 
Which knows no future, never dreams of self; 
The present with the object it adores 
Is its eternity. The heart is blind, 
And deaf to all dictation, and doth cling 
Unto its love, with a tenacity 
Regardless of proud reason's scornful taunt, 
Or cold derisive smile. The heart is strong, — 
Its very weakness is to it a might, 
A strength invincible. There cannot be 
Of things created aught so beautiful 



THE THREE MARy's. 19 

As a true woman's fervent, faithful heart, 
In the devotion of its earnest love. 

And these all loved the sufferer with a love 
Warm as its fountain, as its object pure. 

But wherefore were they there? They had no hope 
That they could save the victim, or subtract 
One drop of bitterness from that keen cup 
Of mingled agony, drugged deep with death. 
They could not give him ease, or life, or hope ; 
Then wherefore stood they agonizing there 1 
The heart constrained them. They could prove at least 
Their love and steadfast confidence in him. 

The thousands upon whom he had bestowed 
Such precious gifts as healing to the sick, 
Sight to the blind, and hearing to the deaf; 
Strength to the feeble, to the crippled power 
To walk and leap for joy ; to the possess'd 
Deliverance from their demons ; — where were they ? 
Ay, where was Lazarus, and the widow's son, 
Those whom his voice had called again from death ? 
We see them not. — Their faith may be as great 
As woman's faith, — their love is not so strong. 

The fervent-hearted Mary, kneeling there, 
Pressed her pale forehead on the senseless wood, 
And lo ! there is a stain upon her brow, 
A blood -drop from the feet, which she did long 
To wash again with her warm flowing tears, 
And dry with the soft tresses of her hair. 
Which joyfully she would anoint again 
With precious spikenard, and the healing balm. 
Oh ! how his words now tremble in her soul, 
" She hath anointed me for burial." 



20 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Ay — all his words were written in her heart, 
And she had treasured them ; as like a child 
She sat at those dear ^eet. Ah, she is there, 
The tender and the beautiful, whose soul, 
In its young dreams of bliss, had sought to find 
One worthy of its love, who would give back 
The wealth of its affection — one to whom 
She might unveil deep feelings' holy shrine 
Fearless of sacrilege, whose ardent soul 
Could understand and answer all her thoughts ; 
Whose nerves would thrill with hers at every touch 
Of joy or sorrow ; one whose breast to her 
Should be a pillow, where no single thorn 
Should wound her spirit or disturb her rest. 

But she had chased a shadow, and had found 
Those isles of beauty by her fancy spread 
Upon the smiling ocean of delight, 
Cold icebergs glitt'ring to the setting sun, 
And floating on a frigid polar sea. 
And they had lured her to the very brink 
Of deep perdition. Then, with spirit stained, 
Soul outraged, heart despoiled of half its wealth, 
Like some young fledgeling bird, which spreads its 

wings 
To seek the bright groves of the balmy south, 
And meets the storm-winds of the equinox, 
Which toss it at their pleasure, till its plumes 
Are wet and ruffled, and its tender form 
All bruised and weary ; then with drooping head, 
And pinions hanging listless by its sides, 
It sits alone in some cold darksome nook, 
And thinks of all the joys it left behind 
For wild unreal hopes. So she looked back 



THE THREE MARY'S. 21 

Upon her wasted youth. Oh ! mournfully 
Lay scattered here and there along the path, 
Amongst rank pois'nous weeds, the broken hopes 
That she had chased, and caught, and thrown aside ; 
The withered buds, and severed leaves of flowers, 
That she had worn on brow and breast awhile, 
And thrown away with loathing. Fearful thoughts 
Awoke within her then, blasphemous thoughts, 
Of Him who had created this fair world, 
With all its wealth of intellectual life, 
And spirits longing for some real good 
To fill their vast capacities for bliss, 
For such unworthy ends ; and she became 
Reckless, and half a maniac, and pursued 
The stream of bitter waters, which but mocked 
And tantalized her burning heart and lips, 
'Till her brain maddened. 

Then the Crucified 
Met her, and pitied, and with gentle voice 
Reproved her wayward wanderings. Kindly then 
He led her to the pure and pleasant spring 
Of everlasting life. She knelt, and touched 
The living waters, and her thirst was gone, 
Her spirit healed, her heart made whole and pure, 
Her brain so calm, that she sat meekly down 
At her Deliverer's feet and drank his words, 
Until the blessed balm of holy peace 
Lay on her spirit, like the dew of heaven 
On Sharon's velvet rose. And she loved much, 
For she had sinned, and she had suffered much, 
And had been freely, lovingly forgiven. — 
Oh ! she loved much ! And therefore she was there 
Beside the cross, to prove that earnest love 



22 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

By fond devotion, fearless sympathy, 
And faith that wavered not. 

Beside her stood 
The Magdalen. — Magnificent of form, 
Of princely rank, sustained by princely wealth, 
Was this devoted Mary ; and her mind 
Was capable of high and glorious things. 
The fire of Genius burned in her dark eye, 
Like the aurorean glory of the north 
Deep in the midnight azure of the heavens. 
Her brow was radiant with the august light 
Of living Science, and her perfect lips 
Were eloquent of most entrancing words, 
Wildering the hearer with a height, a depth, 
A poetry of such exalted thougnt 
As made his spirit dizzy. Still, she yearned 
For deeper draughts of wisdom, and resolved 
To .drain the goblet and possess the pearl 
Of perfect knowledge, which for ever lies 
Sparkling beneath the waters. She was one 
To dare almighty vengeance, as did Eve 
To taste forbidden knowledge. 

All the lore 
Of Nature, with her many-graded life, 
Sentient, instinctive, intellectual, 
Was unto her familiar as the path 
O'er which she sported in her infancy. 
And vegetable nature was to her 
Like her own robe and maiden ornaments. 
She knew how slept the life within the germ 
Of seed, the most minute, a glorious life 
Of might and beauty, carefully enclosed 
In fitting envelope, and laid to sleep 



THE THREE MARy's. 23 

Perchance for years, awaiting but the touch 

Of quick'ning influence, to burst forth, and show 

Its infant loveliness. — And how the earth 

Gave substance to its form, and how it drank 

The gaseous spirits of the living air, 

And breathed the subtle light, acquiring thus 

The fairest forms, and most entrancing hues. 

She knew how fibres of peculiar form 

Absorbed the mineral spirits of the earth, 

Which, blending with the creatures of the air, 

Became strong powers of healing, or of death 

To animated things. But in her soul 

The tree of knowledge blossomed rank with pride, 

And promised fruits of power. Oh ! she would climb 

To heaven, and range the glowing firmament, 

Walk the bright Zodiac, and grasp the stars, 

Search out their natures, analyze their fires, 

And find the secret influence which dwelt 

In each peculiar star, and how it flowed 

From its far fountain, to the pulsing heart 

Of pregnant Nature. — She would find the powers 

That govern all things. She would grasp the wand 

Of sovereign Destiny. She would find out 

How life is generated ; whence the soul 

Receives its parts and passions ; how the mind 

Is joined to matter. She would touch the spring 

Which moves this vast machinery, from the globe 

Of this great Earth down to the atom heart 

Of the minutest insect. She would reach 

The wondrous lever which has power to move 

That active mystery, the human will. 

She would unwind the mystic chain of Fate, 

And penetrate the misty veil that lies 



24 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

O'er all the future, and survey the path 

Of destiny, down to the guarded gate 

Of the eternal bourne. She would command 

All spirits ; she would know the height, and depth, 

And breadth, of all the knowledge that men deem 

Dark, magic, and forbidden. From height to height 

Her daring spirit climbed the fearful steep, 

Wreathing its garlands with the rarest buds 

That bloom in reach of the adventurous mind, 

Which may grasp all things — save Omnipotence. 

But still she laid her spoils upon the shrine 

Of pride and human glory, while the powers 

And spirits of the universe obeyed 

Her sovereign mandate. . Adding strength to strength, 

And wielding all the powers thus made her own, 

At length she wakened demons, which refused 

To yield obedience, or return again . 

To their fierce element. With horror then 

She found herself in their infernal power 

Condemned to torture, and all frenzied forms 

Of agony, which their malevolence 

And vengeance could inflict. Oh ! terrible 

Was her condition then. Yet still through all 

She was the Magdalen, magnificent 

Amid the writhings of her baffled pride, 

The crushing tortures of her deep despair. 

When those fierce demons, with their taunting eyes, 

Wrung all her soul to madness, and shrieked forth 

Their mocking laughter on the shuddering air, 

And told of tortures more tremendous still, 

Ay, past the pow'r of nature to conceive, 

With which they would afflict her writhing soul 

For ever and for ever ; — while they mocked 



THE THREE MARY's. 25 

They feared the mighty sceptre of her power, 
And held her trembling, lest her peerless mind 
Should break their burning shackles, and avenge 
Itself for all its sufferings. Horrible 
Were her fierce strivings, and the frenzied rage 
Of her tormented spirit. Such was once 
This proud exalted woman. She had climbed 
Above the grade of human intellect, 
Above the reach of human sympathy. 
The soul of man did homage to her sway, 
And spirits bowed before her, till her pride 
Outgrew her power, and she became the slave 
Of fiends, too fierce, and fearful, for the sway 
Of her vast knowledge. Fearful fiends they were, 
And fearful were her torments. 

Now she stood 
With folded arms, and brow bent meekly down 
Beside the cross ; and when from time to time 
She raised her dark wet eyes, Oh ! what a light 
Of holy worship and adoring love 
Lay deep within them. Though her Saviour hung 
Upon that cross of torture, well she knew 
That he was self-devoted ; that no power 
Of man could bind him, whom the elements 
Did homage to ; that devils had not strength 
To baffle him, who by a word subdued 
The mighty fiends that had possessed her soul. 
She knew those fiends had scoffed at every power 
Beneath the might of the Omnipotent, 
And he had conquered them ; not by deep spells 
Or incantations, — he had merely said : 
Depart ! and they obey'd him. Surely then 
He wielded the almighty power of God. 
3 



26 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

And she had faith in Him, which nought on earth 
Or in the glorious spirit-land could shake. 
So she stood meekly, calmly, by the cross, 
With heart o'erflowing with its grateful love, 
And waiting with a strong expectant hope 
That he would triumph gloriously o'er all 
The powers of wicked men, of death, and hell. 

And there beside her, weeping on the ground 

In all the deep abandonment of grief, 

Was that same Mary, whom the angel hailed 

As blessed amongst women. O how far 

She seemed from blessed then. The dark red drops 

Of wringing torture, falling one by one, 

So heavily and slowly at her feet, 

Seemed each to waste the being of her soul 

With the dear sufferer's life. Yet there she sat, 

Her woman heart, with yearning tenderness, 

Drinking the bitterness of all the shame 

And agony of him she loved so much. 

Her mother-heart, to which his every sigh 
Came like the wind to the iEolean harp, 
Which, stirring thrillingly the sentient string, 
Awakes a mournful melody of sound 
Which voices all its breathings. Human love ! 
Can angels comprehend thy mysteries — 
Thy hopes, for which man perils his soul's life ; 
The deep despair, from which he deems the grave, 
Ay, hell itself, a refuge ! The delights 
Which mingle all that spirits know of bliss 
With human nature's thrilling ecstacies ! 
And that word, mother ! O it comprehends 



THE THESE MARY'S. 21 

The all of love, the all of suffering, 

That thread their fibres through the universe. 

As if the heart maternal were a point 

In which all centred, and which answers back 

If any, even the least of all, be stirred. 

How throbbed that mother's heart beside the cross 

On which its love, its hope, its pride, its faith, 

Were languishing to death 7 A mother's hopes 

Are holy, and are planted by the spring 

Of life within her heart. Their tendrils cling 

Around the purest fibres of her soul, 

And earth has nothing great or beautiful 

Which they embrace not, while the topmost buds 

Are flashing in the radiant light of heaven. 

But she had hopes such as no woman's heart, 
Save hers, had dared to cherish. Hopes brought down 
By God's own angel, from the throne of truth, 
And planted in her heart. Hopes cherished there 
By blessed men and women, on whose souls 
The Holy Spirit shed prophetic light. 
She knew his being was a mystery, 
Accomplished by the Highest. She was sure 
That he was the Messiah — promised long, 
And wailed for by Israel. She believed 
That he should u save his people from their sins," 
And sit upon his father David's throne, 
A glorious king for ever. She had watched 
The early dawning of his intellect, 
And knew that all within his perfect form 
Was holiness and beauty. She had marked 
The truth and wisdom of the earliest words 
That trembled on his lips. She had observed 



28 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

The earnest spirit of benevolence 

That shone in all his actions. She had kept 

Within the treasury of her mother-heart 

The records of his life, from that blest day 

In which, as she was breathing unto God 

The aspirations of her pure young heart, 

For her afflicted people, as she knelt 

Within her chamber, where the gathered flowers 

Poured out their sweet perfume, an incense meet 

To mingle with a pure young maiden's prayer ; — 

O are they not alike — the holy flowers 

With breath of fragrance, and the gentle girl 

With voice of earnest prayer? Oh beautiful, 

And innocent of heart, w 7 as Mary then. 

The angel of the human sympathies, 

As yet, had never troubled the clear pool 

0[ her affections, where the holy heavens 

Lay mirrored gloriously. She was all pure, 

Trustful, and truthful. Never yet on earth 

Was aught so beautiful as that fair child, 

As with clasped hands, and head bowed meekly down, 

She prayed for fallen Israel, and implored 

Jehovah to fulfil his prophet's words, 

And send the promised Saviour. Then there came 

A voice of softest music, and the words, 

" Hail ! highly favoured !" thrilled her startled soul. 

How throbbed the heart in her young bosom then, 
With awe, and fear, and joyful gratitude! 

And when she saw her son, at twelve years old, 

Within the temple at Jerusalem, 

Amongst th' assembled Doctors of the Law, 



THE THREE MARy's. 29 

Not only understanding all their words, 

But asking questions, with such depth of thought 

As made them marvel — 'twas a glorious sight 

For that exulting mother, her young boy 

Seated amongst those rev'rend white-haired men, 

The nation's best and wisest ; his fair brow 

Raised with attention ; his expressive eyes 

Beaming and flashing with the spirit's light ; 

While his smooth cheek was eloquently flushed 

With the heart's throbbings, and the radiant curls, 

Thrown back from brow and temple, seemed a wreath 

Of heavenly glory, brighter than the gold 

That sheathed so sumptuously the sacred walls, 

And formed with its exquisite ornaments 

A background to the picture. Mary gazed 

Upon that beautiful and august scene, 

And her prophetic heart saw plainly there 

The Immanuel of the better covenant, 

Amongst the august representatives 

Of the old law, of cold but gorgeous forms. 

O, vividly appeared before her then, 
In those old men, so gloriously arrayed, 
So wise, so proud, and yet so near the grave, — 
The Jewish church, just verging to its fall ; — 
While from its princely stock, a verdant branch, 
The purer kingdom of that holy child 
Should grow with fruits of peace and blessedness, 
Fill all the earth, and blossom up to heaven, 
And so endure through time and without end. 

And she had gazed upon him, when his form 
Had ripened into manhood ; when he seemed 
3* 



30 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

A being all too pure, too beautiful, 

Too wise, too good, to dwell upon the earth. 

She saw him when he sat upon the mount, 
Surrounded by a mighty multitude, 
Who gazed and listened with astonishment, 
While from his lips, in glowing melody 
Of perfect eloquence, flowed precepts pure 
And beautiful as incense, wreathing up 
From golden censer, in the holiest place. 
Precepts of piety — of humble trust 
And perfect faith in God — of tenderness, 
Benevolence, and mercy — purity 
Of heart, and word, and life. Of charity 
And free forgiveness of all enemies. 
Of love for bitter hatred, and good deeds 
For all malicious evil. Earnest prayer 
For those unhappy ones, whose souls were vexed . 
With gnawing envy, and the torturing rage 
Of persecuting passions. — When he taught 
That earnest, lofty, comprehensive prayer, 
Gift of his love to man, which ever since 
Has been a daily sacrifice to God, 
From those who follow Jesus. Which to-day 
Has risen up from myriad earnest hearts, 
A cloud of incense, shadowing the world 
With fragrant blessing. Certainly that prayer, 
Breathed by humility, and winged with faith, 
Must reach the throne of heaven. For God will hear 
The prayer himself dictated, from the lips 
Of his incarnate Word, with the command, 
" When ye pray, say, Our Father" 

She had seen 
His matchless form, surrounded by a sea 



THE THREE JIARy's. 31 

Of heaving bosoms, while with word of power 

And touch omnipotent, he loosed the bonds 

Of fierce diseases, of demoniac ire, 

And dull infirmity ; so that the sick 

Sprang from their beds rejoicing, the possessed 

Felt the return of sanctity and peace. 

And looked up with delighted hope to heaven. 

The lame stood up, and leaped, and walked, and ran, 

With wonder and delight. The deaf stood mute 

With rapture, while their grateful souls drank in 

The harmony of sound, and tasted first 

That sweetest melody, the human voice, 

As loved ones spake unto them joyously, 

And thanked the giver of such priceless gift. 

The dumb poured out their gratitude in words 

Of eloquent thanksgiving ; and the blind — 

How reeled their spirits, as they looked on earth, 

With all its forms and hues of loveliness, 

And majesty, and terror, in the light 

Of the sublime blue ocean of wide space, 

With its intensely glorious mariners. 

But 'midst those scenes of rapture, while the healed 
Knelt down and worshipped, or with selfish joy 
Hurried away exulting, while glad friends 
Clasped their restored with smiles, and tears, and shouts, 
And grateful adoration, she had seen 
The pale cold shrouded dead awake to life, 
And cling with warm affection to the breast 
Which swelled beneath the pressure, with a flood 
Of almost insupportable delight. 
Amid these scenes of triumph, still her eyes 
Dwelt with a mother's earnest love and pride 
Upon that beaming face, now eloquent 



32 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

With such compassion as he needs must feel 
Who knows the frailty, suffering, and wo, 
Of weak humanity ; now lighted up 
With a serene authority ; now raised 
With pleading look to heaven ; now terrible 
With stern command; now fearful with reproof; 
Now bright with approbation ; — beautiful, 
In all beyond description, or the power 
Of pencil to delineate. Then she thought : 
O nobly wilt thou fill King David's throne, 
And sway the sceptre o'er a happy land, 
Freed by thy wisdom, by thy power sustained, 
And so established that it shall endure 
For ever. — It was thus the angel said, 
" O^ his dominion there shall be no end." 

But now, — O now, he hung upon the cross, 
Between two thieves ; as if malicious hate 
Would drug the cup of death with every pang 
That man can suffer. Ah ! those blessed feet, 
To which the toilsome steeps of Judah's hills 
Were all familiar ways, as patiently 
He went from place to place, with precious gifts 
For an ungrateful world ; those beauteous feet, 
Look how they quiver with the agony 
That wrings the nerves, from where the rugged nails 
Are rusting in their wounds. Those perfect hands, 
So rich, so liberal of their priceless wealth ; 
Which never once withheld the precious boon 
From suppliant creature ; which were never raised 
Except to scatter blessings ; they are pierced, 
And bear upon the rough transfixing nails 
The languid body's weight. 






TIIE THREE MARY'S. 33 

Are all his deeds 
Of mercy, all his precepts good, and wise, 
And loyal, quite forgotten? Does no voice 
In that vast concourse speak of his good deeds, 
His blameless life, his perfect innocence ? 
Ah yes. The rulers hiss amongst the mob 
In mocking tones of gratified revenge, — 
" He saved others, but himself — himself 
He cannot save." And then they cried to him : 
" If thou indeed art Christ, the Son of God, 
The King of Israel, come down the cross, 
And then we will believe." He heeded not, — 
His eyes were heavenward, and his trembling lips 
Were full of blessings still. 

Oh arrogant 
And blind presumptuous man ! If he who then 
Could send one prayer to heaven, which should bring 

down 
Ten legions of strong angels, prompt to act 
At his command, possessing will and power 
To execute whate'er he should require, — 
If he, amidst those fearful agonies, 
Had felt one throb of self within his heart, — 
That heart, which shrined within its holy depths 
The ruined myriads of the human race, 
With love so strong, so warm, so wonderful, 
That angels, with the highest seraphim 
That burn with ardent worship, still bow down 
Their radiant heads in wonder, and adore 
Love, even to them incomprehensible, 
Which held Immanuel on the cross that day — 
Ay, taunters ! if he had indeed come down, 



34 THE FOREST BUH8TRKL. 

And dashed that cup of torture from his lips, 
Its bitterness had overwhelmed the world 
With everlasting death and misery ; 
And ye would have believed, with such belief 
As makes the devils tremble ! He had power 
To save himself — but 'twas his will of love 
To save his torturers. 

11 Father !" he cried, " forgive them ; 
For they know not what they do." 
And one poor wretch, who languished at his side, 
Said with derision, in the anguished tone 
That struggled hoarsely from his guilty breast : 
" If thou be Christ, save thyself and us." 
But there came no reply from that meek heart, 
And his poor fellow-sufferer turned his face, 
Ghastly with misery, and rebuked the wretch 
For such unseasonable levity. 
And then, with humble penitence and faith, 
He said to Jesus, u Lord, remember me 
When thou shalt reign in glory." Unto him 
There came an answer, O so full of love, 
So overflowing with sustaining hope, — 
" Thou shalt be with me, certainly, to-day 
In Paradise." 

'Twas noontide, and the crowd 
Grew faint beneath the fierce meridian sun, 
Which aggravated to intensity 
The thirst and fever of the crucified. 

But lo ! there comes a darkness o'er the earth, 
As if the shade of the death-angel's win^; 
Lay heavily upon it. 'Tis high noon, 
And yet the sun is hidden, and the chill 
And blackness of deep midnight veils the world. 



, 



THE THREE MARY'S. 35 

Cold horror filled all hearts, and silent fear 

Lay on all spirits, like a shroud of ice, 

And they crouched down, expectant, and afraid 

Of some impending terror. Can it be 

That nature is expiring with the life 

Of him who said — I am the Son of God 1 

Lo ! on that sullen stillness, came a voice 

Of most intense and bitter agony, 

As if a miserable universe 

Were gathered in one heart, and its despair 

Expressed by that one voice, which cried aloud : 

Eloi I Eloi ! Lama ! Sabacthani ! 

A murmur of derision, like the hiss 

Of fiendish serpents, answer'd from the gloom, 

And all was still again. So still, so dark, 

It seem'd that Nature held her breath, and hid 

Her eyes from sight so dread. Three fearful hours 

This heavy darkness lasted, and despair 

Was gathering round all hearts her frigid pall, 

When from the Sufferer on the cross there came 

A voice so deep, so thrilling, that it seem'd 

To startle earth and heaven, as piercingly 

He utter'd : " It is finished !" and bow'd down 

His mighty head in death. 

One short quick breath 
It seem'd that Nature drew, and then gave forth 
A groan of mortal anguish. This strong earth, 
Rock-built, and iron-sinew'd, groaned and shook 
With horrible convulsion. Fearful chasms 
Were open'd in her bosom. Mountain rocks 
Rent from their bases, with the stunning shock 
Of quick explosion, adding to the crash 
Loud detonations. Palaces and towers 



36 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Shook like the summer blossoms in a storm ; 

The glorious temple of the Holy One — 

That august pile of marble and pure gold — 

Reeled from its deep foundations, and the veil 

That closed the entrance of the holiest place 

Was rent from top to bottom, as if God 

Design'd no longer to conceal himself 

In gorgeous myst'ry of imposing forms 

And human workmanship. One piercing scream 

From man, and beast, and bird, went quivering up, 

Prolonging Nature's groan of agony, 

And then dumb silence wrapp'd the world again. 

The bold centurion of the Roman guard, 
Who watch'd the sufferers on the cross that day, 
Gave his confession to the listening world, 
And thus proclaim'd his faith : Most certainly, 
This was the Son of God.- 

O Mary, of the warm and tender heart ! 

How seem'd thy very soul to melt in tears, 

As o'er this scene of sorrow, and the wreck 

Of an astonished world, the sun look'd out, 

And show'd that glorious form droop'd heavily, 

The bright eyes dim, the perfect features fix'd 

And seal'd with Death's cold signet. But her love 

Is undiminished. He was innocent ; 

He spake the words, and work'd the works of God ; 

Heaven has attested it, and earth has borne 

Audible evidence that he was true 

And worthy of heart-worship. That cold form 

Should be embalm'd with cost and pious care, 

And honourably buried. And his name 

Should live for ever. While the soul endures, 



THE THREE MARy's. 37 

His deeds should be remember'd, — and his words 

Are graven on the altar-piece of Truth, 

And shall not be forgotten while the sun 

And earth remain, or while intelligence 

Is bodied in quick matter. Shame nor death 

Could conquer in that trusting woman's heart 

The strong devotion of adoring love, 

Which dwelt with Memory on the blessed past, 

And walk'd with Hope a bright futurity 

Of blessed and eternal intercourse 

And holy worship in the spirit-land, 

Where sin and death come not. 

Can tongue express 
The mother's sufferings in those fearful hours 
Of darkness, death, and horror ? Now indeed 
The sword pass'd through her soul. Where was her 

faith, 
Her hope for erring Israel ? They had thrown 
Their Saviour from them. They had crucified 
Their King, who would have saved them from their sins 
And from oppression. They had cast away 
Healing and honour, freedom, and the meed 
Of an eternal kingdom. Now their fate 
Was seal'd. They had rejected and despised 
The King, whose coming they had look'd for long, 
And now they were undone. With broken heart 
She bow'd her head. She knew that God is wise 
And merciful, but Israel was undone ; — 
Her Son is crucified — she hopes no more. 

But Magdalen,. her strong and trusting soul 
Clings to its cherish'd hopes. She knew, she knew 
That He was the Immanuel, who should live 
4 



38 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

And reign for ever. Heaven, in blackness veiPd, 
Earth, groaning and convulsed, bear evidence 
Of His divinity. She feels assured 
That this is not the sequel, and looks up 
To greet a glorious future. 

Magdalen ! 
Strong was thy faith and great was its reward ! 
When drawn by faith and love at early morn 
Into the garden of the sepulchre, 
First of the sisterhood who came with myrrh 
And all embalming spices to preserve 
That form so dearly loved — the risen Lord, 
In all the glory of immortal life, 
But half reveal'd in morning's misty light, 
Stood near thee, and inquired : " Why weepest thou ? 
Whom seekest thou ?" Then, to thine earnest plea : 
" If thou hast borne him hence, O tell me where , 
He lies, and I will take him now away ;" 
He merely answer'd : " Mary I" in that tone 
So well remembered, and so dearly loved. 
O what a thrill of deep ecstatic joy 
Pervaded all thy being, and burst forth 
In that one word, Rabboni ! Then thy soul 
Was fill'd with blissful triumphs. Christ, the Lord, 
Had conquer'd all — even the cold still powers 
Of shadowy Hades and the sepulchre. 
Thou seest thy Lord triumphant, and thy soul 
Drinks in the mystery of Almighty love, 
The incarnation of th' eternal Word, 
Why he was born, why he had lived, and died. 
The book of prophecy is open now, 
It is thy Lord of whom Isaiah sang : 
" He was despised, rejected, intimate 



THE THREE MARY's. 39 

With grief and sorrow. We hid as 'twere 

Our faces from him. Surely he hath borne 

Our bitter grief, and carried in his heart 

Our heaviest sorrows ; yet we blindly deem'd 

That God had smitten and afflicted him. 

For our transgressions he was wounded thus ; 

These bruises are for our iniquities ; 

On him was the chastisement of our peace ; 

And by his cruel stripes our wounds are healed." 

Yes, Mary, thou wert healed, thy soul was well, 

And full of joy and glory. Magdalen ! 

Thy name became thee well. Magnificent 

Thou wast in mind and person, and thy fame 

Shall live throughout all ages. Ay, as long 

As ransom'd souls adore th' Incarnate God. 

Woman ! There is a lesson for thee here ; 

Come now and let us scan it narrowly. 

Our hearts are form'd for reverence, for love, 

For hope, and strong confiding ; and in these 

We find our bliss, our honour, and our fame. 

Our beauty perishes, our brightest gifts 

Of genius but endure a little while ; 

At best, no longer than the hearts we love 

May cherish our remembrance. Wisdom's lore 

And all the wealth of learning is to us 

A glittering and uneasy coronet, 

Which keeps our temples from their longed-for rest, 

And tempts the shaft of envy, and the pangs 

Of venomous detraction ; and too oft 

Infects the heart with pride — a dire disease, 

Which mildews all its beauty, all its worth, 

And ends in shame and ruin. If our soul 

Be strong and stern, to battle and endure, 



40 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

And we attain the height, and write our name 

On Fame's bright altar, lo ! the wither'd flowers 

Of feminine affection, and the buds 

Of tenderness and beauty, that were crush'd 

By our ambition, droop their mournful heads, 

And half conceal the record of our name 

And high achievements. Love, and love alone, 

The humble, fervent love, which of itself 

Is purity, and faith, and truth, and hope, 

And strong endurance — this is woman's worth, 

Her happiness, her fame, in earth and heaven. 

It was not gold, or beauty, or the gems 

Of intellectual riches, or the lore 

Of treasured learning, or the magic might 

Of mystic science — it was none of these, 

And Mary Magdalen possess'd them all, 

Which won her favour, happiness, or fame. 

'Twas warm devoted love, and ardent faith, 

Which filled her being full of happiness, 

Which won for her the favour of the Lord, 

Which brought her earliest to the sepulchre, 

And made her with her sisters, living gems 

On the black waste of man's depravity. 

Which made their name a beautiful relief 

Upon the record of the direst deed 

That sin has goaded man to perpetrate. 

That through all ages, while the faltering tongue 

Of man or angel shall recount, or read, 

The story of the fearful sacrifice 

That made atonement for a world of sin, 

Their name shall mingle in the mournful strain 

Its tone of sweetly soothing melody. 

Yes, woman's love is the alone bright spot 



THE LORD'S PRAYER. 41 

In all that horrid story. Woman's love — 
The soul of her religion — the deep life 
Of faith and hope within her ; — this it was, 
With its sustaining strength and holy zeal, 
Which bound these blessed Mary's to their Lord ; 
Which made them follow him from place to place, 
Like angels, ministering to all his wants ; 
Which kept them agonizing at his cross, 
And led them early to the sepulchre ; 
Which gave them first to greet a risen God, 
And taste the purest, most exalted joy, 
That ever trembled through the human heart ; 
And wrote their name upon a glorious page, 
To live as long as God himself endures. 



THE LORD'S PRAYER. 

Our Father, God who art in Heaven, 

Hallowed be thy name ; 
Thy kingdom come ; thy will be done, 

In heaven and earth the same. 

Give us this day our daily bread ; 

And oh ! forgive our sins, 
As every one who injures us 

A ready pardon wins. 

Oh ! do not lead us in the paths 

In which temptations lie ; 
And when beset with evil, still 

Be thy deliv'rance nigh. 

4* 



42 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Thine is the kingdom ; heaven and earth 
With all their hosts are thine ; 

Who should oppose thy sovereign sway, 
Or at thy deeds repine ? 

Thine is the potter, and we rejoice, 

All goodness as thou art, 
That thou hast power in earth, and heaven, 

And o'er the treacherous heart. 

Thine is ilie glory ! Worlds on worlds 
Through all the depth of space, 

With their uncounted forms of life 
Are vocal in thy praise. 

Thine is the glory ! angels sing 
In high and rapturous strain, 

Thine is the glory ! we reply, 
For ever more. — Amen. 



VOICE OF THE LORD. 

11 The voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness." 

Psalm xxix. 

God speaketh in the wilderness. His voice 
Is ever audible in the lone bowers 
Of this old giant forest. Even now 
I hear it, with a low and solemn tone 
Of breezy melody, moving the boughs 
And lifting up the foliage, which appears 
Like myriad wings, all fluttering with delight 
That God should talk with them. 

The summer flowers 
That grow beneath upon the mossy banks, 
Incline their heads and worship ; while the birds, 
Waked by the holy breathing, dress their plumes, 
And lifting up their shining heads, reply 
In strains of perfect rapture. 

Oh ! how sweet 
That balmy voice, that living breath of life, 
As soft it bathes the aching upraised brow, 
And whispers peace. The anguished soul is soothed, 
Earth, sense, and sin, and sorrow are forgot, 
As that pure breathing stirs the spirit's lyre 
To holy converse with Divinity. 

God speaketh in the wilderness at eve, 



44 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

What time the moon looks down with radiant brow, 

And every leaf that catches her sweet smile 

Grows brilliant with delight. While dell and bower 

Beneath are wrapped in shadow, and the brook 

Steals silently along, save where it meets 

Her bright eye peeping through the emerald screen ; 

When, dimpling with delight, it gives her back 

Her radiant smile, and with a silvery tone 

Of joyous greeting, dances gaily on. 

Hark ! a majestic sound fills earth and heaven ; 

All Nature listens with deep reverence, 

Silent and motionless. The Lord has made 

Of the dark waters and thick clouds of heaven 

His glorious pavilion. BeautifuL 

The silvery summits tower, in glittering piles 

From the green bosom of the clustering wood. 

Oh ! what a gush of light,— as if the Lord 

Waved his bright hand and bade the earth attend : 

Then bursts again that awe-inspiring voice, 

Shouting, I Am ! and there is none beside. 

All nature hears and trembles ; every voice 

Is silent now, and every heart is faint, 

While God rides forth upon the cherubim, 

Winged with the winds, along the sounding sky. 

The white moon veils her face, and the bright stars 

Hide from his presence. Earth wraps o'er her breast 

Her darkest mantle, and with trembling awe 

Awaits his rushing chariot. 

Lo, he comes ! 
His voice in the loud thunder and wild winds 
Shaking the wilderness. The tall trees bow 
In graceful adoration. Hark ! That crash ! 
His finger touched a tall pine on the hill, 



GOD IS HERE. 45 

And it was broken. The firm wood is riven, 
And thrown in splints like arrows through the shade. 
The birds cower closer in their leafy screens ; 
The wild deer bound in terror from the spot, 
And crouch down in the thicket. 

Earth, and air, 
And winds, and waters, — all are echoing now 
The august voice of the eternal God : — 
Let finite man be silent. 



GOD IS HERE. 

Where the spring-flower peeps, 

With dew diadem crown'd, 
And the little rill creeps, 

With its silvery sound ; 
Where the young grass appears, 

And the white lambs play, 
And the child of few years 

Delights to stray ; 
Where song-birds are fluttering, 

With notes sweet and clear, 
Soft voices seem uttering, 

God is here ! 

When the storm -spirit springs 
From the dark northern caves, 

And spreads his wild wings 
O'er the land and the waves ; 



46 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

When the forests bow down 

As he passes by ; 
When, afraid of his frown, 

The billows fly ; 
When thunders are uttering 

Their voices of fear, 
Deep echoes seem muttering, 

♦ God is here ! 

Where the rough mountain glows 

In the summer sun sheen, 
Or the clear river flows 

Through its valley of green ; 
Where the healthful breeze 

Waves the pliant grain, 
Or sports with the trees 

Along the plain ; 
Where cattle are lowing, 

And flocks sporting near, 
Each soft sound is echoing, 

God is here ! 

Where the hurricane raves 

Round the rock's shatter'd crest, 
And the pine foliage waves 

Round the strong eagle's nest ; 
Where, with joyous leap 

And stunning sound, 
Down the fearful steep 

Wild waters bound ; 
Dread spirits supernal, 

With voices of fear, 
Are shouting eternally, 

God is Jiere ! 



GOD IS HERE. 47 

The young beautiful heart, 

In its innocent mirth, 
Ere it learneth the art 

Or the sorrow of earth ; 
When light from above 

Bathes the buds of hope, 
And the blooms of love 

Untarnished ope ; 
Sees earth all loveliness, 

All hearts sincere, 
And cries in its blessedness, 

God is here ! 

To the soul that has known 

Every sorrow and ill, 
That is joyless and lone, 

Stricken, blighted, and chill ; 
That sees joy a shade, 

And all earth's flowers 
Frail things that will fade 

In stormy hours ; 
Sweetly the voice of grace 

Sounds in that ear, 
Come to the hiding-place, 

God is here ! 

The spirit that feels 

All its errors forgiven, 
To which Jesus reveals 

The pure glories of heaven ; 
Though it feels the warm glow 

Of life depart, 
And the blood creep slow 

Through the bursting heart ; 



48 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Even in that agony, 
Knoweth no fear, 
But crieth exultingly, 

God is here ! 



RUTH. 

" Thy God shall be my God !" Strong was the faith 

Of that young Moabitess, who forsook 

Her native country and her father's house 

For Israel's God. There is no spot on earth 

Where sunshine is so bright, the dew so pure, 

The grass so green, the summer flowers so sweet, 

The birds so blithe, as in our native land. 

Beside our father's hearthstone gushes up 

The only spring of human tenderness 

In which the heart can bathe without a fear 

Of falsehood, treachery, or forgetfulness. 

But Ruth had heard of God. She could not stay 
Where men bow down to demons ; so she broke 
All her heart's idols, and went trembling forth, 
Poor, and a widow, to a stranger land, 
To seek the living God. No dream of love, 
Of wealth, or fame, allured her. Meek of heart 
Was that fair gentle creature, who went forth 
To be a gleaner in the field of him 
With whom she should find grace. Well didst thou 

prove, 
Thou young devoted proselyte to God, 



TO A LOCK OF HAIR. 49 

That he is a rewarder of all those 
That diligently seek him. 

Couldst thou then, 
While gleaning barley o'er the stubble-field, 
Have look'd beyond the impenetrable mist 
That hides the vista of futurity 
From our presumptuous vision, thou hadst seen 
Love, wealth, and princely honours waiting thee ; 
And thy descendants, an illustrious line 
Of kings and princes, reaching down to Him, 
Of whose dominion there shall be no end, 
And thy name written for posterity, 
And honoured to the latest hour of time. 



TO A LOCK OF HAIR. 

Oh, bright brown curl ! 
Twining in silken rings, so soft and bright, 

Thou bringst fond memories of a gentle girl, 
Like passing spirits in a summer night. 

Oh, she was fair, 
My beautiful companion, all day long ; 

I loved her hazel eye, her shining hair, 
And lips that breathed the incense of sweet song. 

Ay, now I see 
The summer flush upon her cheeks of pearls, 

As resting 'neath the old familiar tree, 
She threw aside the rich dishevelled cu.Is. 
5 



50 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

And then the breeze, 
That kisses all the beautiful of earth, 

Forgot its converse with the whispering trees, 
And touched the living rings with tender mirth. 

Full many a scene 
Of childish happiness is present now, 

The blossom'd orchard and the hillside green, 
Where sweet wild jessamine bound the laurel bough. 

The limpid brook, 
In which we laved our little feet so oft, 

While o'er our heads the willow branches shook, 
'Neath feather'd bills, with love-notes wild and soft. 

The chamber neat, 
Where my red cheek press'd hers so pure and fair, 
. And while her breathing made my slumber sweet, 
Those dark curls mingled with my sunny hair. 

Oh, precious curl ! 
Cherished memento of the blessed past, 

How far from those dear scenes, and that fair girl, 
Sever'd and reft alike our lot is cast ! 

Oh, never more 
On her fair temple shalt thou rest again ; 

Alas ! the weary years, in passing o'er, 
Have bow'd that graceful head with care and pain. 

Thou wouldst not be 
At home, amid the thin and white-streak'd hair, 

Which now is comb'd so smooth and carefully, 
And bound beneath such cap as widows wear. 



TO A LOCK OF HAIR. 51 

Nor should I find 
My home amid those scenes to memory dear, 

For time, and change, and death, have all combined 
To render all those places cold and drear. 

How desolate 
Would be the weary lot of such as me, 

Far from a blessed home, and doom'd by fate 
To wrestle with a bitter destiny ; 

But for the faith 
That points us to a home beyond the tomb, 

Where mildews never canker love's bright wreath, 
And youth and purity for ever bloom. 

A holy home, 
Where those who sought the footprints of the Lord, 

Along the paths of pain, and care, and gloom, 
Shall find the rest of heaven a rich reward. 



MUSINGS. 

This morning, oh ! how glorious was the scene 
In this old wintry forest. Every tree 
All sheathed in lucid ice, and feathered o'er 
With the inimitably fibred frost. 
Along the swelling hills the forest lay, 
Like groups of glittering angels that await 
The bidding of Jehovah, silent all, 
And still, save as the morning wind came by 
And touched the branches, giving to the groups 
A lifelike motion, as of waving wings. 

The sun arose, and then the orient clouds 
Grew crimson with his glory, and their hue 
Touched first the summits of the plumy hills, 
With delicate beauty, melting slowly down 
Into the valleys, while a crown of gold 
Fell on the summits, like a wreathen work 
Of most amazing splendour. Every height 
Was then a monarch, with its diadem, 
And robe of kingly purple. 

Then a shower 
Of glory, like innumerable gems, 
Descended suddenly, and every spray 
All robed with jewels, ruby, diamond, 
Beryl, and amethyst, and hyacinth, 



MUSINGS. 53 

Braided with golden chains, and strings of pearl, 
Seemed worth an empire. 

But the sun grew high, 
The frost-work melted, the bright hues were gone, 
Yet still the glory stayed. One might have deemed 
That the innumerable stars of heaven 
Had wearied of the fields of azure light, 
And congregated in the wilderness, 
To crown the old gray trees with majesty, 
That well might lure the angel messengers 
Who trace the bright paths of the zodiac 
To turn aside, and linger o'er a scene 
So like a universe in miniature, 
A glorious illusion. 

But the rays 
That gave those ice-gems all their brilliancy 
Dissolved them into tears, and long e'er noon 
The panorama wept itself away ; 
And the old forest from its tresses gray 
Shook the last big cold drops. 

Such unto me 
Has been the dream of life. At early morn 
The world was full of angels, and arrayed 
In lustre pure as heaven. Where'er I turned, 
The glittering groups were waiting, with closed wings, 
As if they had no wish to leave a world 
So well adapted to their purity. 
But reason dawned ; and fancy caught her light 
And threw it on the landscape ; then appeared 
The glittering pageantry of fairy land, 
In all its changing beauty : forms of heaven 
Arrayed in all the glorious hues of earth, 
Crowned and adorned with gems, moving in light, 
5* 



54 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

'Mid bowers and arches, wreathed and studded o'er 
With flowers and foliage of bright gold and gems. 

The fairy pageant passed ; but high romance 

Retained the dazzling splendours, and displayed 

All heaven's rich hosts, wreathed into coronets, 

And plumes, and sceptres, for the hand and brow 

Of Genius ; which despises all earth's gifts, 

And claims its meed from heaven. Oh! high, and 

bright, 
And full of glory, were life's visions then. 
Her friendships, loves, and joys seemed all so pure, 
That I believed the angels might mistake 
This world for their own bright and holy home. 

But reason's sun grew high ; and long e'er noon 
The glories faded, and the radiant gems 
Were melted by their own intensity, 
And all dissolved to tears. 

Now, life to me 
Is like this naked wintry wilderness, 
Joyless, and cold, and traversed by wild winds, 
Which waken strange and dreamy melodies, 
And sigh themselves away. 



AWAKE ! THOU THAT SLEEPEST. 

Sleeper, awake ! Beneath thy pillow 
Lie serpents coiled, with deadly fangs, 

While o'er the deep and sullen billow, 
On the cliff's edge, thy bower hangs. 

Sleeper, awake ! The blossoms round thee 
Breathe venom with their rich perfume, 

And poisoned thorns to pierce and wound thee, 
Beset the stalk of every bloom. 

A deathful darkness gathers o'er thee, 
Life-chilling dews around thee weep, 

Voices from earth and heaven implore thee, 
To rouse thee from this fatal sleep. 

Sleeper ! The hurricane is coming ; 

The serpents' fangs are near thy brow ; 
The giant waves come swelling, foaming ; 

Death waits ! Oh, sleeper ! waken now. 



TO THE « WEEKLY MESSENGER." 

On receiving the first number (1836). 

Welcome to the weary breast, 

Messenger of Peace, 
Bidding care's wild billows rest, 

And worldly sorr-ows cease — 
Bidding bleeding hearts like mine, 

Seek the balsam from above ; 
Bearing from the Fount Divine, 

Messenger of Love. 

This poor heart has fondly clung 

To many an earthly joy, 
Then with bitter anguish wrung, 

Mourned o'er the broken toy. 
I have watch'd the budding flower, 

And fondly hoped to see it blow, 
But the storm, the frost, or shower, 

Has ever laid it low. 

I have lent a willing ear 

To Hope's delusive strain : 
And shed full many a bitter tear, 

To find her promise vain. 



TO THE " WEEKLY MESSENGER." 57 

I have sought perennial flow'rs 

Along life's painful thorny way ; 
And mourned beneath the rifled bow'rs 

To see them fall away. 

I have learn'd what restless things 

Earth's joys and treasures are ; 
Seen them spread their phantom wings, 

And vanish into air. 
All the love and joys of earth 

Are like the bubbles on the stream ; 
All its honour, fame, and mirth, 

The meteor's flitting gleam. 

Welcome ! then, fair Messenger , 

Of more substantial bliss ; 
Pointing to a holier 

And happier world than this ; 
Speak thy Message near and far, 

That Christ will give the weary rest ; 
Show the beams of Bethlehem's Star 3 

To the benighted breast. 



THE SPIRIT OF POESY. 

A seraph of the highest heaven, 
Who dared to touch forbidden fire, 

An exile from her home was driven, 
Bereft of all, except her lyre. 

Amongst the spheres. she wander' d long, 
And sought to join the hymns they pour, 

But wept to find her lyre unstrung, 

And chording with such strains no more. 

Yet dearly cherish'd was that lyre, 

For though its loftiest chords were riven, 

And strangely bright its fitful fire, 

'Twas all she now retain'd of heaven. 

Thus all through space the lost one roved, 
With half seraphic changeful strain, 

And eyes raised tow'rd that home of love, 
To which she might not turn again. 

Her bitter tears fell on the strings, 

And quench'd in part their fervent fire ; 

Then sweetly plaintive murmurings 
Came trembling from the angel lyre. 



THE SPIRIT OF POESY. 59 

Weary and sad she came to earth, 

And pleased the seraph was to find, 
Amongst the souls of lower birth, 

Some traces of the seraph mind ; 

Some spirits wrapp'd in mortal clay, 
That seem'd close kindred to her lyre, 

Who madden'd at her fitful lay, 
And kindled with her ardent fire. 

O'er these she spread her flashing wings, 

And catching the ecstatic flame, 
Wild, ardent, inconsistent things, 

Her restless votaries they became. 

Enchain'd to earth by pow'rful ties, 

Round its frail loves they fondly twined, 

And wailed that holy sympathy 

Dwells not in man's imperfect mind. 

Unfit for heaven, unfit for earth, 

The wand'ring spirit's tuneful train 
Have ever scorned their mortal birth, 

And sought immortal bliss in vain. 

Wo ! that this spirit ever came 

To spread her mania o'er our mind ; 

That her impassion'd, fitful flame 

Should e'er have touch'd the human kind. 

That we, who are enchain'd to earth, 

Should hope to clasp celestial love, 
And madly ask of mortal birth 

The bliss that onlv lives above. 



66 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Should feel our kindred with the fire 
That thrills the pure seraphic train, 

And hope to tune an earth-strung lyre 
In chorus with that perfect strain. 

Then disappointed, sad, and lone, 

Heart-wrung, and weeping o'er the strings, 

Pour forth in broken, sobbing tone, 
Our deep, despairing murmurings. 

Wo ! that the seraph exile came 

With flashing wing and madd'ning glance ;- 
Ah, wo ! that Poesy's meteor flame 

Should wrap a mortal in its trance. 



CHILD OF SORROW. 

Child of sorrow ! — Child of sorrow,- 
Murmur not beneath the rod, 

There may be a joyful morrow 
Treasured up for thee with God. 

When thy night of pain is darkest, 
When thy path is cold and drear, 

Trust in God — He surely marketh 
Every pang and every tear. 

If thy spirit bow before Him, 
With a heartfelt, humble prayer, 

If thy fervent faith adore Him, 
He will banish thy despair. 



THE SPIRIT OF BEAUTY. 61 

He will teach thee resignation, 

He will give thee heartfelt peace, 
Blessed hope, and consolation, 

Riches and immortal bliss. 



THE SPIRIT OF BEAUTY. 

The spirit of beauty is all abroad, 
Earth feels her influence bright, 

And heaven is filled with a radiant flood 
Of melody, love, and light. 

She lives in the eye of the simplest flower 
That lifts its white hands to heaven, 

She hallows the mountain eagle's bower 
In the old pine, lightning riven. 

She smiles in the sleepy eye of morn, 

In the noonday flood of light ; 
And the cluster'd diamonds, meekly worn, 

By the still and holy night. 

She is felt in the breeze that awakes the day, 
With garlands of dewy flowers, 

She is heard in the zephyrs that love to play 
In the fragrant twilight bowers. 

The spirit of beauty is every where — 

In the ocean-anthem's swell, 
In the song of the brooklet, cool and clear, 

That lives in the shadow'd dell. 
6 



62 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

She tinges the feathery clouds that swim 

On the sunset ethereal sea, 
Like plumes from the wings of the cherubim, 

That flit through immensity. 

She sitteth sublime on the thunder's throne, 
While Nature bends down in awe ; 

Her music is blent with the august tone 
Of the elements' glorious war. 

She lies in her splendour divinely bright 

In the rainbow's jewell'd form, 
Like the crown of the Glorious, shadow'd in light, 

On the wing of the passing storm. 

The spirit of beauty is all abroad, 

And her wings are bathed in love, 
And life's wild harp,' by her breathing stirr'd, 
Pours forth a hymn to her glorious Lord, 
The Immortal, in beauty above. 



QUEEN MARY'S MUSINGS. 

When will the morning dawn ? And yet to me 
What can avail the dawning? Desolate, 
Deserted, and bereft of every stay ; 
Victim of falsehood, treachery, and fraud, 
With many a bitter pain and bitterer wo, 
I pass my weary hours. 

Year after year 
Creeps by these cold stone walls, and brings no change, 
Except a deeper curtain of dark green 
Around the mossy arch and ivied tower. 

For me there is no hope. When in the spring 
Jehovah writes on every hill and plain, 
In colours bright and balmy, fresh from heaven, 
His promises of plenty, wealth, and joy, 
Which glad the very lowliest heart that reads, 
With gratitude and hope — ay, even the slave 
Hath hope, and liberty to walk abroad, 
And feel the beauty and the balm of spring ; 
But I — who, by the right men call divine, 
Am mistress of a kingdom — I, whose heart 
Should feel the glow of a whole nation's hopes, 
And garner up its joys — I, who should be 
Free as the wind on my own mountain-tops, 
And every where at home in freemen's hearts, 
Am lingering here, an outcast from my own ; 



64 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

A captive in the toils of treachery ; 
Deserted by the people whom 1 love, 
Betray'd by those on whom I lean'd for aid ; 
Heart-wrung, insulted, tortured, with all wrongs 
That treachery marshals on her catalogue 
When she would break the heart. 

Tears ! burning tears ! 
Well — let them flow, — there are none here to mock 
The agony of fallen majesty. 
Oh, there is balm in tears. How sweet they gush 
From out the fountain of the swollen heart, 
Relieving it, and dropping like soft rain 
Upon the weary spirit, as it lies 
Crush'd down and wounded, like a trampled flower, 
Which ne'er shall raise its jeweil'd head again, 
Or shake the dust from off its velvet robes, 
On which the careless passer sets his foot, 
While he adores a far inferior bloom, 
Which sits in pride on her imperial stem, 
And scorns her injured sister. 

Oh, that sleep 
Would lay her hand upon my weary eyes, 
And shut this dark world out, that I might dwell 
A little while with loving memories, 
Unhaunted by the never-ceasing knell 
Of death, and pain, and sorrow! 

Give me back 
The vine-encumber'd hills of sunny France, 
Where simple gatherers of the purple grapes 
Made labour pleasant with their joyful songs 
Of liberty and love. Oh give me back 
The royal halls, where sweeping tapestries 
Of purple velvets and rich azure silks 



QUEEN MAKv's 3IUSINGS. ti5 

Outvied the splendour of the Fleur de lis, 

Beneath the shade of which my girlhood pass'd, 

So like a dream of Eden, with its wreaths 

Of voiced and living flowers, that drink the dews 

And wear the radiance of celestial love. 

Then, hundreds of brave hearts throbb'd quick and high 

For Mary — Dauphiness of royal France, 

Queen of fair Scotland, and apparent heir 

To England's diadem ; — a hundred swords 

Leapt flashing from their scabbards at the name 

Of Scotland's Mary, — and high chivalry 

Sought for no richer altar under heaven, 

On which to pour his blood, than Mary's cause. 

Fairest of all the fair, was Mary then, 

Empress of every elegance and grace 

That gems a lady's chaplet. Then my breast 

Lock'd in its treasury the noble heart 

Of my young kingly Francis. 

Let me feel 
Once more the throbbings of that truthful heart 
Amongst my life-strings, thrilling them to bliss, — 
The perfect bliss of young and holy love, 
That lies upon the spirit as the dew 
Of heaven lies trembling on the fragrant heart 
Of summer's velvet rose, which locks it in, 
Folding around it all her loveliness, 
Her softness, and her glory. 

Give me back 
The bliss of one glad morning, when all France 
Pour'd one united paean ; when her hills, 
And vales, and streams, and cities, all were glad, 
And crown'd with bridal garlands ; when the souls 
Of all the people were alive with joy ; 
6* 



66 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

When even sorrow put aside her veil, 
And watch'd the general gladness with a smile ; 
The myriad-hearted city felt one tide 
Of rapture, moving every sentient pulse ; 
But her proud heart — the palace of her kings — 
Was all alive with joy. In one young breast 
Lived deep and still the spring of all the bliss 
That flooded this broad land. I was a bride — 
The love that was my life was crown'd and blest ; 
I was a royal bride — and earth had nought 
That I had cause to covet. All was heaven, 
Around, above, within me. Was there one 
Who would have augur'd from that glorious morn 
A day of mourning, blackness, and despair, 
Captivity and shame ? 

Ah ! now they come — 
The dark and adverse days, — a mournful train, 
Hurrying along to strange discordant sounds, 
Woven with death-knells, groans, and taunting words, 
Into a horrid march. My spirit shrinks 
From these appalling spectres as they pass. 
Oh ! here are agonies that well might wring 
The warrior's heart of iron, till red blood 
Gush'd from the bursting portal. 

Every ill 
That woman's heart has known since time began, 
Has fallen upon mine. The loneliness 
Of infant orphanage, when the young eye 
Turns tearful from the cold unloving gaze 
Of guardian and domestic ; while the soul 
Is yearning for that dew of blessedness — 
A mother's soothing love. Young widowhood, 
With its wild, sobbing grief, and long, lone nights, 



queen mary's musings. 67 

And dark and cheerless mornings. Truthfully 
I wept my young heart's lord, upon whose tomb 
Lay reft and broken my fair coronet 
Of royal lilies. I had lost my love, 
My royal husband, and the crown of France. 
Oh doubly, trebly, w T as my soul bereaved ! 
Oh, Francis ! if thy Mary could have died, 
And fill'd one grave with thee. That first keen grief! 
Oh, it was but a drop, one little drop, 
Compared with the wide ocean, to the wo 
That I have since endured. Wave after wave 
Has dash'd upon my spirit ; I have drain'd 
That keenest of all cups — ingratitude, 
Embittered by the heaviest injuries — 
Hatred, and wrong, and scorn, and vile abuse 
From those I loved and trusted. I have been 
The poor neglected wife, who weeps by night, 
While memory repeats fond words of love, 
Sweet promises., and softly-whisper'd hopes, 
That were all breathed in vain, and then thrown back, 
With bitter scorn, upon the wither'd heart 
Which gave them as rich treasures. Oh how thick 
The groups of misery gather ! Let me hide 
From those dark, treacherous, and accusing eyes ; 
Vindictively they lour on every side, 
With mutterings of vile things, the very thought 
Of which is ignominy. Oh, great Lord ! 
Thou know'st I never did such horrid things 
As they accuse me of. I am a queen, 
Too proud to do dishonourable deeds, 
Too conscious of the dignity of kings, 
To stain th' escutcheon of a royal race. 
And yet I am a woman, warm of heart, 



68 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Of kind, forgiving nature. I have been 

In some things weak, in many things abused, 

In all misrepresented. Above all, 

Betray'd and made a captive, and detained 

In bold defiance of the sacred laws 

Of faith and honour. Vile hypocrisy 

Of mine oppressor ! How can woman's heart 

Be such a tissue of unlovely thoughts 

Towards a hapless sister ? Could our fates 

Have been reversed, the Lord of mercy knows 

That Queen Elizabeth had never lain 

A prisoner all these years in Mary's realm. 

Oh, no ! I would have raised the drooping head, 

And soothed the troubled spirit. It had been 

My bliss to have restored to her Jier rights. 

How can Elizabeth, the strong, the wise, 

The noble-hearted, manly-spirited, 

Allow base jealousy and low revenge 

To tarnish thus the lustre of her name? — 

A name which through all time must stand alone, 

Last on the record of a noble race 

Of kings, and queens, and mighty conquerors, 

That with, her death becomes extinct. 

The thought 
That Mary has a son, on whom the eyes 
Of England rest in hope, adds bitterness 
To all the hatred which she lavishes 
On my devoted head. Yet if she knew 
How like a burning coal deep in my heart 
Lies even that holy word, — Maternity, — 
Her barren breast perchance would feel a joy 
In having poison'd thus the sweetest spring 
Of human happiness. Oh deep and keen 



queen mary's musings. 69 

My quivering soul has felt the barbed shaft 

Of cruel treatment from a cherish'd child, 

For whom I would at any time have died. 

His youthful brain was poisoned by the streams 

That gush'd from the foul bosoms of my foes, 

And, falling constantly upon his heart, 

Have petrified the chords of filial love, 

So that his eye and voice are icy cold. 

And his ear callous. Oh 'tis agony 

To feel that he has power to break these chains 

And punish mine oppressors, while I groan 

And cry for aid in vain. My son ! my son ! 

How is it possible that thy young heart 

Could heed the whispers of malevolence, 

And close against thy mother, unto whom 

Thou art sole hope and pride ? It is for thee 

That I endure this long captivity, 

And wear a crown, to me all valueless ; 

Guarding its rights with most religious care ; 

That of its honours, not a single leaf 

Should wither, or be wanting when it lies 

Upon my coffin; thence to be transferr'd 

To shed its glories on thy royal brow, 

Which yet shall wear proud England's diadem. 

God grant that crowns sit easier on thy brow 

Than mine. The thistle and the rose 

Compose the wreath, and I have worn the thorns 

All next my bleeding brow. Yet be assured 

That I have rifled it of no one gem, 

Nor shalt thou find a stain upon its gold, 

Except it be my blood. 

Hark ! The dull chime 
Peals out the matin hour. To my wrung heart 



70 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

There is a soothing in the solemn chime, 
Which falls like holy dew upon my soul. 
How sweet the soothing that religion brings 
In her rich offices. The holy church 
Hath not cast off her daughter. Still she gives 
Peace, hope, and consolation, and her hand 
Lifts the dark scenery of the stage of life, 
And points me to the glories of that world 
In which the weary find eternal rest. 

The world is false. Its honours and its wealth 
Are snares and burdens to the weary soul ; 
And human love — oh ! what a fading flower ! — 
Its beauty and its fragrance pass away, 
But never fail to leave the venom'd thorns 
Within the bleeding bosom. Loyalty ! — 
What is it, but a fawning sycophant 
That follows power, and worships at the feet 
Of -popularity ! And friendship, too, — 
The holiest of the human sympathies, 
Is fickle, and a traitor unto me ; — 
And my own child, — he, whom I fondly bore 
Upon my bosom, and against my heart, — 
He leaves me to the malice of my foes, 
And I must die ! 

But I will die a queen, 
A martyr, and a Christian. I have hope,— 
A strong, sustaining hope, — which stands sublime 
Upon the wreck of empire, fame, and life, 
In hearing of the symphonies of heaven, 
And, catching the entrancing melody, 
Repeats the soothing numbers, which sink down 
Into my spirit like the summer dew 



TO THE " HARTFORD COLUMBIAN." 71 

Upon the fainting flower. It fills my soul 
With peace and consolation. 

Gracious Lord ! 
I bow before thee, and, with humbled heart, 
Say, " All thy will be done." 



TO THE " HARTFORD COLUMBIAN." 

Thou comest as the carrier-dove, 
That seeks the exile's lonely cell, 

Awaking shades of hope and love 
That Memory knows too well. 

Ay, now before my spirit rise 

Rough summits, crested with green trees, 
Whence nature's holy melodies 

Float out upon the breeze, 

Which lingers on the green hill's breast, 
To play at billows with the grain ; 

Then fondly whispering, breaks the rest 
Of flowers upon the plain. 

Dear land, on which the radiance bright 
Of childhood's blessed memory lies, 

Which gilds all objects with the light 
Of its own laughing eyes ; — 

Dear land of my nativity ! 

Sweet home of innocence and love ! 
Earth hath no spot which unto me 

So dear a home can prove. 



72 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Ah ! now I see thy broad bright stream ; — 
Has earth another stream so bright ? 

How free and pure those waters seem, 
Beneath the lunar light. 

Oh ! many a time, by that clear ray, 
I watched upon thy noble tide, 

The gallant vessel on her way 
To ocean, dark and wide : 

And thought of Oriental lands, 

With all their fabled joys and loves, 

Where rivers sleep on golden sands, 
Beneath the orange groves. 

And then I idly wished to roam 

By fairy isle, and South Sea strand ; 

But now — oh ! give me back my home, 
I ask no fairer land. 

Oh ! give me back New England's hills, 
Her meadows, and enamelled vales, 

Her rivers, and her living rills, 
Snow wreaths and wintry gales. 

Oh ! give me back the holy hush 

Of Sabbath 'neath New England's sky, 

Where e'en the breeze and fountain's gush 
Speak low and reverently. 

Oh ! let me hear the Sabbath bells, 
Peal forth the solemn call to prayer ; 

Where pure devotion's anthem swells, 
Oh ! let me worship there. 



TO THE " HARTFORD COLUMBIAN." 73 

It may not be — it may not be — 

Land of tried hearts and truthful lore, 

The daughter who so longs for thee, 
Shall breathe thine air no more. 

My home, thy noble stream beside, 

Is filled with stranger voices now, 
My own sweet flowers are wreathed in pride 

Upon a stranger's brow. 

And those who made that home so blest 
Are scattered from its haunts away, 

Some to a home of perfect rest, 
Beyond life's chequered way : 

And some, like me, to other lands, 

More fair perhaps, but oh ! less dear ; — 

Oh, home ! though midst the deserts sands, 
Thou hast thine exile's tear. 

We dream that young life's guilelessness, 

Its fervent love, and holy trust, 
Are garnered there, to soothe and bless 

The heart, whose hopes are dust. 

Oh ! how the spirit clings to earth, 

Where no abiding-place is given, 
Forgetful of the mystic birth 

That makes it heir of heaven. 



THE THREE CROWNS. 

She wore the crown of Beauty, 

A queen of hearts was she ; 
And proud and strong men at her feet 

Adored on bended knee ; 
She seemed a thing to worship, 

So regal was her .grace, 
And such a seal of majesty 

Impressed her perfect face. 

Her cheeks were red with beauty, 

Her smile was rich with pearls, 
Her white brow shone like purity 

Amid her golden curls. 
Her eyes were like deep fountains 

Beneath the southern skies, 
In which the richest blue of heaven 

In pure reflection lies. 

Her voice was like the wild bird's, 

That sings her hymn at even ; 
Her radiant smile came o'er the soul 

So like a dream of heaven. 
She wore the crown of Beauty, 

But wore it in her pride, 
And Envy with her withering breath 

Walked ever bv her side. 






THE THREE CROWNS. 75 

She wore the crown of Genius, — 

She ranged the field of thought ; 
She studied nature's beauteous book, 

With holy lessons fraught ; 
And tomes, that are to others 

Impenetrably sealed, 
Unclasping at her magic touch, 

Their precious lore revealed. 

With footsteps like the zephyr, 

She climbed Parnassus' height, 
And from its rainbow coronet, 

Wove garlands of delight ; 
By Helicon's pure fountain 

She often paused to drink, 
To cull the never-fading flowers 

That clustered on its brink. 

Her mind was like pure waters, 

Where richest pearls abound ; 
Her fancy strung them playfully, 

And threw them flashing round ; 
She wore the crown of Genius, 

To w T hich earth's monarchs bow ; 
But it was fever to her heart, 

And ice upon her brow. 

She wore Religion's circlet, — 

A thorny crown it seemed, 
From which no sheen of yellow gold, 

No diamond lustre gleamed ; 
But from its pure white blossoms 

Exhaled a fragrant balm, 
That lay upon her heart and life, 

A blessing and a charm. 



76 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Above her fair young forehead 

It shone serenely bright, 
And Beauty's rose and Genius' gem 

Grew glorious in its light ; 
That crown of holy meekness 

She wore in perfect peace ; 
It shed a light of truth and love, 

And filled her soul with bliss. 

Wo to the crown of Beauty ! 

Its flowers grew pale and sere, 
And its adorers fled like birds, 

When autumn days are drear ; 
Wo to the crown of Genius ! 

'Twas cold upon her brow ; 
Alas ! 'tis only o'er the grave 

Its living jewels glow. 

All hail ! Religion's chaplet, — 

We bless its heavenly power ; 
There's healing in each verdant leaf, 

And balm in every flower ; 
No blight, no change, no withering, 

Comes ever to that wreath ; 
It blooms, a balm, a bliss in life, 

A glorious hope in death. 



A DREAM. 

I DREAMED 

And lo, I lay upon the bed of pain, 

In bitter agony ; a torturing fire 

Of fever scorched my brain and dimmed mine eyes, 

Though on my forehead lay big icy drops ; 

I would have wiped them, and I raised my hand, 

But it was powerless, white, and cold as snow. 

Each pulse was but a throb of agony, 
As painfully I felt life's crimson tides 
Curdling along their channels. Heavily 
My heart was beating, and my tongue lay cold 
And languid in the hall of melody. 
My soul was suffocating, and I felt 
Impatience of the close and narrow room, 
That seemed to shut out the sweet breath of life. 
My children wept all wildly round my bed, 
With broken supplication unto God, 
That he would spare a life so dear to them ; 
But I was weary of it, and my prayer, 
Wrung out by agony, was, " Let me rest !" 

I knew that death was present, and I ceased 

To struggle with him, and the conqueror pressed 

His icy hand upon my shuddering heart, 

And tore away the life-strings. 
7 * 



78 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Then I lay 
A spiritual essence on the air, — 
A balm, a beauty, an ecstatic bliss, 
Living in its own wealth of blessedness. 

I looked upon the clay that had so long 
Held me a prisoner. Where were now the pangs 
That wrung its nerves ? Oh mystery of death ! 
All calmly beautiful in its pale sleep, 
It lay before me. Death, which lay concealed 
In its first germ, which all its weary life 
Had dwelt within it, gnawing at its heart, 
And thrilling it with pangs, and dire disease, 
And slow decay, weakness, anxiety, 
And tears, and sighing, so that all its joys 
Were mixed with agony ; — Death now was dead ; 
And that calm clay and the immortal mind 
Were freed from him for ever. 

Then I looked 
Upon my weepers, in their bitterness 
Clinging round that cold clay, or sobbing deep . 
Upon each other's neck ; and yet I felt 
No sympathy ; not for my tenderest child ; 
But said, with placid joy, " If ye could know 
What peace, what bliss is mine, ye would not weep." 

Now came a strain of music, like a breeze 
Bearing me upward with its ravishment 
Through the ethereal ocean, till at length 
I rose above this cloudy atmosphere, 
To the celestial radiance of God's day ; 
And this great world rolled from beneath my feet, 
With mighty rushing sound of melody 
Along its shining path ; apparent now 



A DREAM. 79 

Its sound and motion, as with majesty 

It marched along. In rapturous amaze 

I looked upon the shining hosts of worlds, 

The infinitely vast and beautiful 

Creations of Jehovah. Every where 

Wheeled the bright orbs, each floating in its own 

Peculiar atmosphere of streaming light, 

And uttering unto God a glorious voice. 

My being was all wonder and delight, 
As floating in this boundless wilderness 
Of rolling orbs, flashing their wings of flame, 
And speeding on their errands, I drank in 
The power and glory of Omnipotence. 
And there were groups of spirits, radiant 
With perfect loveliness, moving in bands, 
Or resting on their broad and silvery wings, 
In pure communion. Every perfect face 
Illumed with love and dazzling with delight ; 
And as I passed they waved their glittering hands, 
And bade me speed my way, in words that came 
In swells of fragrant music. Oh, the bliss 
That filled my being ! Was there aught on earth 
That could have won me to assume again 
My mortal prison, with its painful life 
Of weakness and pollution. What to me 
Were its affections, with their doubts and fears, 
Their thrilling joys, and bitter agonies ? 
I had escaped them, and I was all bliss. 

Onward I passed — and now the atmosphere 
Became a crimson glory, every where 
Radiant with angel faces and bright forms, 



80 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Gleaming amid the wreaths of wavy light, 
That seemed the glowing vapours of perfume 
From myriad censers, burning heavenly balm, 
And breathing, with the incense, holy hymns 
Of sweetness ravishing. 

11 Speed ! sister, speed !" 
I heard sweet voices singing — " Speed thy course 
To Him who has redeemed thee from the earth, 
To whom be glory !" And the wide immense 
Re-echoed " Glory ! Glory !" and a flood 
Of spirit-dazzling glory was revealed, 
And such an ecstacy of pure delight 
Burst on my spirit, that I joined the hymn, 
And with a shout of " Glory !" broke the spell 
Of that delightful visionary sleep, 
And the bright dream departed. * 

* The above Dream was written (I think) in the spring of 1842, 
and sent to a newspaper for publication. The editor kept it, and 
published a prose article, entitled, Dr. Watts' Dream, and the 
week after gave mine ; whether he thought that my Dream was a 
plagiarism on the Doctor's, or only wished to have it so appear, I 
never inquired. However, I positively assert that when I wrote 
my Dream I had never seen or heard of Dr. Watts', and had no 
idea that any such composition was in existence. And yet there 
is between the two dreams a most striking similarity — sufficient 
to establish a belief in a candid mind that one was only a different 
version of the other. Thus, no doubt, many authors are convicted 
of plagiarism. That the same objects or circumstances, should 
awaken the same feelings and images in minds similarly con- 
stituted, is by no means wonderful; but that imagination should 
present scenes purely ideal, in such striking sameness of contour 
and colouring to different minds, is certainly a wonder, and is 
incomprehensible. — It is nevertheless, in the present instance, so- 
lemnly true — I have never imitated any writer, male or female, — 
and if ever in my wanderings beside the sweet waters, I have 
picked up shells or gathered flowers, similar to those appropriated 
by any who have preceded me ; I certainly did not steal them from 
their cabinet, but found them myself, and they are mine. 



THE WIND. 

Oh, wind ! where is thy home, 

Thy resting-place ? 
Where dost thou plume thy wings to roam 

In pathless fields of space? 
Thou comest with viewless w T ing 

And mystic voice, 
And leaves, and blossoms, and glad birds of spring, 

Awaken and rejoice. 

Whence comest thou with thy songs 

That glad the earth, 
And call her myriad infant throngs 

Of beauty into birth ? 
All nature's precious balm 

From southern shores, 
All pleasant sounds, all sights, and scents that charm, 

Thou makest ours. 

Whence is thy strength, that bows 

The forest down, 
And dashes from the mountain brows 

The ancient emerald crown ? 
That lifts the eternal rock 

From its strong rest, 
And hurls it rudely with tremendous shock, 

From ledgy crest ? 



82 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

That levels with the dust 

The castled tower, 
And many a pile which mortals boast, 

As monuments of power ? 
Whence thy tremendous power, 

That crests the waves, 
And heaves them, shouting, on the sounding shore, 

Or marble caves? 

Cradled amid thy plumes 

The lightnings sleep, 
Till on thy breath through surging glooms 

The glittering terrors sweep. 
The thunder's fearful sound 

Is born of thee, 
Which leaping onward rends the dark profound, 

And shakes immensity. 

Where is thy home, oh ! wind ! 

Hark ! the reply — 
" I dwell with the Immortal Mind — 

Type of His majesty ;— 
Invisible and free, 

With hymning flight, 
I range the solid earth and rolling sea, 

Diffusing life and light. 

" Ye hear my rushing sound, 

But cannot know 
From whence I run my glorious round, 

Or to what realms I go. 
All nature owns my sway, 

And loves my voice; 



THE WIND. 83 

The earth, the waters, and the clouds obey, 
And in my power rejoice. 

" Ye tremble at my might, 

And yet I come 
Diffusing fragrance and delight, 

Beauty, and bliss, and bloom. 
O'er earth, and all her train 

Of living things, 
A quickening spirit of all life I reign, 

With all-pervading wings. 

" God fills infinity 

With life and bliss, 
Life, that endureth to eternity, 

And everlasting peace ; 
And unto me 'tis given 

To shadow forth 
The Power that fills, and rules, and gladdens heaven, 

As I pervade the earth." 



TO THE SEDOLEO. 

Sweetest of the hymning band, 
That come on spirit wing, 

Chaunting through the listening land 
The presence of the spring. 

When the soft blue eye of day 

First opens on thy nest, 
Lighting with its emerald ray 

The forest's leafy crest, 

Softly through the spirit streams 

Thy mellow joyous lay, 
Mingling with our troubled dreams, 

And melting them away. 

Like a tuneful angel's hymn, 
Thrilling through the soul, 

Ere life's cares and shadows dim 
Assert their stern control ; 

Bearing up the soul to God, 

Source of joy and light ; 
In one full melodious flood, 

Drowning all of night. 



TO THE SEDOLEO. 85 

When the busy burning day, 

With his toil and care, 
Passes to the west away, 

And lingers smiling there ; 

Free from toil and turmoil now, 

In the blessed calm, 
Gratefully we bathe the brow 

In evening breath of balm. 

While the fevered pulse subsides, 

And the mind grows still, 
While gray evening's drapery hides 

All of earthly ill ; 

Then thy plaintive flute-like lay, 

From the shadowy trees, 
Fills with soothing melody 

The cool refreshing breeze. 

Sweetest of the birds of spring ! 

Oft at dreamy even 
I have thought thy damask wing 

Came fresh and pure from heaven ; 

That thou wert a spirit bright, 

Missioned from above, 
Plumed with joy's own rosy light, 

And voiced with holy love. 

Seraph of the twilight hour, 

Sure of heaven thou art, 
Hushing with melodious power 

The wrung and throbbing heart. 

8 



MY OLD LETTERS. 

One hour amongst my treasures ! Oh 'tis sweet — 

Mournfully sweet — to this o'er burdened heart, 

To turn from all life's present cares and toils, — 

Injustice, bitterness, and agony, — 

To pass one hour amid the treasured gems, 

Which I have gathered in life's weary ways, 

Since first in childhood's morn my little heart 

Wa's made to understand such bitter words 

As parting — absence — sorrow — and vain hope, — 

Till now, that I have gained the rugged steep 

Of life's meridian, whence the earnest eye 

Looks down the shadowy path, which hath no bourne, 

Except the cold, dark grave. — Oh, there is peace, 

And rest, for all the weary ! 

Some of those 
Whose pledges of a never-dying love 
Perfume these faded leaflets of their souls, 
Have gone down there to sleep ; and I have wept, 
And counted them, tlie lost. But 'tis not so ; 
The truthful breathings of their loving souls 
Live on these written sheets, where here and there 
A tear, that gushed up warm from the live heart, 
Lies where it fell, more precious than the pearl 
That's purchased with a kingdom. They are lost 
Who live and have forgotten ! Unto them 



j 



M OLD LETTERS. 87 

Be joy, and wealth, and honour. 'Tis enough 
That I am sorrowful, and feel the bond 
Of absence always straining at my heart. 
I will not now weep o'er the registers 
Of such unstable minds ; though broken buds, 
And withered leaves, that grew in my warm heart, 
Upon the trees that Hope had planted there, 
Are folded up within them. Let them rest ; — 
I would not now disturb them, and inhale 
Their breath, so faint, so withering to the soul. 
Sad records of the weakness of the mind, 
The faithlessness of poor humanity, 
Go to your hiding-place, while I unfold 
The leaves of these un wilted flowers of Truth, 
That breathe so rich an odour. Fresh and sweet 
They lie before me. The white jessamine buds 
Of pure young girlhood's offering ; the white rose 
Of womanhood's devotion ; myrtle leaves 
And sprigs of green geraniums from the stems 
Of manhood's hardier friendship ; and a few 
(Oh dearly they are treasured) red rose leaves, 
Rich with the breathings of a fervent love. 

Where are the hands that wrote these living lines 
So many years ago ? Where are the eyes 
That bent their burning beams or tearful gaze 
Along the rapid tracery ? Where the hearts 
That throbbed with yearning tenderness the while ; 
Now trembling with emotion, pausing now 
With doubt, or apprehension, or cold fear ,* 
Or agonizing with the hope deferred, 
That seems so long in coming? Years, — and change, — 
And death, — can ye not answer ? — No reply 



88 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Do ye vouchsafe to any. Death, and change, 

And time, are silent spoilers. All in vain 

The hearts that ye have robbed shriek out, and plead 

For restitution, or one little word, 

To calm their burning anguish. Ye are deaf 

To all entreaty, and, since time began, 

Have never answered to the earnest prayer 

That knocked in agony at the cold gates 

Of your mysterious, silent palaces. 

But o'er these precious treasures of my heart 
Ye have no power. The rapid lapse of years, 
The stern mutations of ali things that feel 
The tide of life, the hand that breaks the heart 
And crushes loveliness, and over all 
Spreads charnel mould and ashes, — none of these 
Can touch the pure affections of the soul, 
That God has made immortal, and which live 
For me, for ever, in these written sheets. 

Here are the careless folded sheets, and scraps 
Impressed so lightly by the little hand 
Of my first correspondent, while her breast 
Was spotless of a stain, before her heart 
Had known the blight of sorrow, or the joy 
That lies so heavily within the heart, 
And, like the nectar in the blossom's cup, 
Bends down the head with sweetness. She was fair, 
Rich in a loveliness of form and mind, 
If not unequalled, never yet excelled ; 
And these sweet records of her young, pure soul 
Breathe round me, ever spring's own atmosphere 
Of light, and song, and odour. Hope stood by 



Hy OLD LETTERS. 89 

When these glad lines were written; and no shade 

Of pain or sorrow mingled with the hues 

Upon the bright cartoon on which her hand 

Had sketched our drama of futurity. 

Her lines are sweet enchantment ; like the song 

Of some caged bird, which (if we shut our eyes) 

Transports us to the green and flower-wreathed grove 

In which it caroled to the loving mate 

That hears its song no more. 

No more ! — Ah me ! 
Who sings that dirge-like word so mournfully 
Along the heart-strings ? searing with its tone 
The bright-eyed memories that were singing there. 
I know that girlhood with its laughing joys 
Can come to me no ?nore, — that my schooled heart 
Can dance to hope's ecstatic hymn no more ; 
And that the wreath's sweet, perfect flowers, 
That spent their fragrance on my breast and brow, 
Can bloom for me no more ; that I can feel 
The blissful confidence with which young life 
Relies on human worth and purity 
No more ; that all the sweet and beautiful, 
That bloomed and faded in the pleasant ways 
Of young life's mazy wanderings, can return 
To cheer my steps no more. Yet sing ye on, 
Sweet, faithful memories, till my soul forgets 
The present in the music of the past. 
Sing on, and spread your tableaux ; I will deem 
Myself a child again, and range with her 
The well-remembered scenes. 



8* 



90 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Spring is in the soft blue sky, 
Smiling, silvery clouds between, 

As a loving azure eye 

'Twixt the pearly lids is seen. 

Spring is in the balmy air, 

As it gaily coquets by, 
Touching all the sweet and fair 

With a kiss of melody. 

Spring is in the river's song, 
As it proudly marches by, 

Bearing on its breast along 
Ships that ride right gallantly. 

Spring is in the rivulet's hymn, 
Where it gushes from its source ; 

Spring awakes the thickets dim, 
All along its tuneful course. 

Spring is in the dewy eye 

Of each fresh and fragrant flower ; 

While the birds that nestle by, 

Call her name from bower to bower. 

We are roving by the brook, 
Where the early violets grow, 

Searching thicket, bank, and nook, 
Where all buds of April blow. 

We are shouting in our glee, 
As we break the slender stems ; 

Or we praise, on bended knee, 
Him who gives the floral gems. 



MY OLD LETTERS. 91 

We are seated 'neath the thorn, 

Gaily braiding for our brows 
Flowers of balm and beauty born 

With the slender willow boughs. 

Now our song is on the air, 

Blending with the blue-bird's lay ; 

All that lives is sweet and fair, 
All that breathes is melody. 

We are weary of our play, — 

'Tis the pleasant eventide ; 
We have thrown our crowns away, 

And are seated side by side. 

See, within the ancient room, 

Filling settee, chair, and stool, 
Smiling through the mellow gloom, 

Are the loved, the beautiful. 

Now the father, whom we love, 

Leaning on his wonted chair, 
To our Father — God above — 

Offers up the evening prayer. 

Pale and reverend is his brow, 

Slow and solemn is his tone ; — 
Ah, the tears are crushing now — 

Memory's vivant scenes are flown. 

But that prayer — it seemeth still 

Rising to the Mercy Seat ; 
Winning thence, to guard from ill, 

Holy angels, fair and sweet. 



92 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Oh how kind their voices are, 

When the heart has erred and feared, 

Answering ever to despair, 

There is mercy — we are heard. 

'Tis very sweet to dream that those who led 

Our infant feet in good and pleasant ways, 

Who brought us, while our hearts were yet untouched 

By this world's mildew, to a Saviour's {eet, 

And showed us where to find a hiding-place 

From all the tempests of this changing world ; 

Who bore us in the arms of earnest prayer 

Up to the throne of heaven, — who led the way, 

And left their footprints all along the path 

Of peace, which leads to God, — 'tis sweet to dream 

That they are watching with their loving eyes 

Our struggles with the spirits that would lure 

Our faltering steps to their enticing bowers 

Of smiling agony, and death disguised 

In bridal robes and garlands. It is good 

To lean upon them then, and ask our hearts 

If those who look upon us from on high, 

Approve our words and deeds. They seem so near, 

Our souls can almost touch them, and we lean 

So naturally on their love and care — 

Oh who should throw the clear, cold light of truth 

Into the temple where fond nature shrines 

These beautiful illusions, which so aid 

Our trembling spirits through the labyrinth 

That lies between the cradle and the grave ! 

Dear guardians of my childhood ! if 'tis true 
That ye in heaven remember me no more, 
Ye are my guardians still. Your loving words 
Of sweet encouragement, of kind advice, 



MY OLD LETTERS. 93 

Of earnest sympathy, of mild reproof, 

Of spiritual communion, — they are here, 

To aid, uphold, and solace this poor heart 

In its extremest need. And when my day 

Is dark as midnight, and I stand alone, 

Amid the desert of a weary life, 

With none to cheer me, none to guide my steps, 

Or bring me consolation; — when no voice 

Of hope cries, " Courage, sister ! help is near, 

Press on and win the prize !" — still ye are near ; 

I feel your presence, and ye point away 

To that far land, where living waters flow, 

And joy-buds bloom for ever. Blessed lines ! 

Traced by those reverend and sustaining hands, 

I would not change ye for the title-deeds 

Of earth's most glorious empire. 

" Your ever-loving mother." 

Blessed words, 
Almost effaced with tears, which dim mine eyes 
Whene'er they rest upon that signature, 
So beautifully written by the hand 
That was my providence in infancy 
And early childhood ; that directed first 
My young eyes unto heaven ; that led me forth 
Amid the glorious works of nature's God, 
And, pointing to the pure and beautiful, 
Taught me to love and worship ; that sustained 
My weakness with unwearied tenderness ; 
That made my bed in sickness, lifted up 
My aching head, and held to my parched lips 
The cup of healing ; that has done for me 
That which no other hand on earth has done ; 



94 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

That which no other hand on earth can do. 

My " loving mother." — Thou art far away ; 

I may not clasp thy hand, or hear thy voice, 

Or look into thy beautiful mild eyes ; 

But I can read these letters, which thy hand 

Has written to me, which thine eyes have read, 

With tears of tender feeling, while thy heart, 

Thy mother-heart, was throbbing for thy child, 

Thy desolate and solitary child, 

The dweller of the forest ; she for whom 

Thou dost so without ceasing offer prayer. 

Mother ! dear mother ! though we dwell apart, 

Thy loving words are with me evermore — 

Thy precious loving words. Thy hand, and heart, 

And earnest soul of love, are here impressed, 

For me, a dear memorial through all time. 

Mother ! I cannot recompense thy love, 

But thy reward is sure, for thou hast done 

Thy duty perfectly, and we rise up 

And call thee blessed ; and the Lord shall give - 

Thy pious cares and labours rich reward. 

Ah ! here are missives that came unto me 
Like messengers from heaven ; seeking me out 
In this old forest, where my lot was cast 
In early womanhood, away from all 
That makes life beautiful, that fills the soul, 
Or lifts the heart from earth, — except the voice 
Of nature in her wildest, sternest forms. 
Yes, even here thy warm and pious heart 
Pursued the child of thy pastoral care 
With godly counsel, urging her to hope, 
To walk in the undeviating path 



MY OLD LETTERS. 95 

Of truth and duty, with the heart and eye 
Fixed ever on the shining gate of heaven, 
With faith and humble confidence in Him 
Who dwells not in the temple's gorgeous pile, 
But in the heart, the pure and earnest heart 
That offers incense unto Him alone. 
My dear and reverend friend, thou didst not know 
What joy these letters brought me ; — how I wept 
For very gladness, ere I broke their seals ; — 
How my soul drank their contents, and looked up 
Refreshed and strengthened, with a grateful hymn 
To God, for such a friend, and unto thee 
For thine unceasing care, until I seemed 
To hear the music of the Sabbath bells, 
And stand amongst the worshippers, who felt 
The import of those solemn words, — " The Lord 
Is in his holy temple," — and bow down 
In silent awe before the majesty 
Of Him whose glorious presence fills all space. 
Mine ever-honoured Pastor, though no more 
My voice shall murmur its response to thine, 
Or join the solemn chaunt ; though never more 
My heart shall tremble while thou dost unfold 
The Gospel message of eternal life, 
Still I will hope that in the august day 
Which wakes a world to judgment, I may be 
A living leaf amongst the gems that form 
The crown of thy rejoicing. 

My brother ! best and dearest, these are thine, 
And they are fragrant with the purest love 
That hath its sources at the gushing spring 
Of human tenderness. My sisters, too, 



96 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Here are their precious offerings. Oh 'tis sweet 

To taste the fulness of this perfect love, 

Until the heart forgets its weariness, 

And all its scars and mildews, and goes back 

To that most holy refuge this side heaven, 

Our father's house. Oh, sweet the echoes come 

Through the dim distance and long lapse of years, 

From that dear sanctuary of holy love. 

How pleasantly they touch my heart-strings now, 

To melting music, mellowed down by time 

To plaintive sweetness ! 'Tis our mother's voice, 

Which calleth at the pleasant evening time, 

" Come, children ! take your seats beside the fire." 

The fire is blazing on the ample hearth, 
• Diffusing comfort through the antique room, 
And we are watching in our simple mirth 
The giant shadows starting from the gloom. 

With seeming menace and imperious air 

They seem to beckon with their wavering hands, 

And flit away. We wonder whence they are, 
And seek to reason of the ghostly bands. 

But at our mother's voice we leave our play, 

And crowd our low seats close around her chair ; 

Each prompt to meet the loving smiles that play 
Upon her lips and brow so purely fair. 

Her beautiful white hand forsakes awhile 

The task by love made pleasant for our sake, 

To rest a moment with caressing wile, 

On brows that 'neath that pressure could not ache. 



1 



MY OLD LETTERS. 97 

Her clear eyes rest with proud yet troubled joy 
Upon the blue-eyed treasures at her feet ; 

The rosy girl, the noble-hearted boy, 

The little smilers, with their prattle sweet. 

All good and happy, through her pious care, 
Loving and well-beloved, a blessed band, 

All leaning on her love, rejoiced to share 

The blessing of her voice, her love, her hand. 

Ay, now, our father, who, the whole day long, 
Had plied the art by which he earns us bread, 

With glance of pleasure on his own glad throng, 
Sits down to taste the feast for reason spread. 

His much-loved book — the poet's lofty lay, 

The traveller's tale of strange and far-off lands, 

The voyager's story of the mighty sea, 

The attention of the little group commands. 

We listen, full of wonder and delight, 

Until the witching volume is laid by, 
And loving voices breathe the kind " Good night !" 

And light lids close above each sleepy eye. 

Sweet were our slumbers then. We laid us down 
With faith in God, and in our parents' care, 
No sorrow held us waking, no deep grief 
Took form of fearful dreams, and made our sleep 
More painful than our hours of waking wo. 
We slept the dewy sleep of innocence, 
And woke to love and peace, while on us all 
Our parents smiled at once. Oh, long ago 
9 



98 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Those blessed days departed, we are reft 
And scattered like the leaves of some fair rose, 
That fall off one by one upon the breeze, 
Which bears them where it listeth. Never more 
Can they be gathered and become a rose, 
And we can be united never more 
A family on earth. Alas ! that death, 
And love, and sorrow, have so scattered us 
Abroad upon the world, that there remains 
No tie between our souls, but memory, 
Linked to the yearning heart, and kept alive 
By these frail messengers, which come and go, 
Bearing a world of love, or joy, 'or grief, 
Beneath their brittle seals, from West to East, 
From North to South, around the peopled globe, 
So that the very pulsings of the heart, 
Which stamps itself upon the written sheet, 
Are felt, despite the distance. Oh, the heart ! 
It mocks at distance, and smiles scornfully 
When fate builds up her everlasting wall 
Between it and its loves. It heareth still 
The voices of its kindred, and it feels 
The slightest tremor of the hidden strings 
That bind each unto each. It feels, it knows 
The love, the joy, the fear, the agony 
That thrill its own, though it be prisoned far 
Beyond the mountains ; though the billowy sea 
Divide it from the bosom which enshrines 
Its sympathizing mate ; ah, though the grave 
Be closed above it, still it seems to lie 
Against its fellow, with a cold still weight, 
Benumbing to the centre all its tides 
Of happiness ; and when corroding time 



MY OLD LETTERS. ( Ji) 

Has worn its form away, the sable dust, 
The poor remains of all corporeal things, 
Is strewn o'er all the buds of tenderness 
That struggle up and seek to blossom there, 
Still marring all their beauty. 

Here they lie — 
The little packets tied around with black ; 
Volumes of love, from hearts and hands that lie 
Down in the narrow chamber. 

These are thine, 
Companion of my childhood, gentle girl 
Of deep dark eyes, so eloquent of love, 
And grief, and sympathy. Thy lot was sad 
And meekly borne. The canker of disease 
Fell on thee in the morning of thy years, 
And gnawed life's healthy stamen ; but thy form 
Acquired a holy beauty from the blight ; 
And thy young spirit, feeling how the ties 
That held it earthward perished, and became 
Attenuated, looked with firmer trust 
And holier hope to heaven, and so became 
A very angel, save the sympathies 
And weariness of life, the love that yearned 
To see its object happy, and put on 
A radiant smile to hide the burning seal 
Which marked the young fair forehead for the grave. 
And thou wouldst speak so sweetly, while thy breast 
Was tortured with the gnawing of the death 
That fed upon thy being. It was sad 
To see thee in thy beauty bending down 
With such a gentle patience to the grave, 
Which pale consumption with her meagre hand 
Was digging at thy feet. But that is past — 



100 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Thy soul is ransomed, and thou art at rest ; 
Peace to thy spirit. Though we wept for thee, 
Thy lot was more desirable than mine; 
Thy bark was safely anchored, ere the storm 
Had burst upon it ; ere the thunderbolt 
Had riven its heart to splinters ; ere its hull 
Was shattered on the treacherous lurking shoals, 
To which sweet sirens, in their floating bowers, 
Allured it with their tuneful witcheries ; 
Ere its white sails were mildewed ; ere its chart 
Was soiled and torn ; before its compass lost 
The fine attraction to the steady pole, 
W T hich marked its course aright, in storm or calm. 
Before the stream of life, which at its source 
Was pure and narrow, and pursued its way 
Through sunny valleys, smiling with the buds 
And balmy flowers of spring, grew wide and deep, 
And rolled its turbid volume through a land 
Of rock and sandy desert, where green trees 
Are seldom seen, and every herb and flower 
Accounted as a blessing ; ere the wreaths 
Culled gayly from the banks of the young stream 
Had lost their bloom and fragance ; ere the barks 
That sported round us in their trim array, 
With pennons, songs, and gladness, covering 
The tide with joy and beauty, are all lost, 
So that the weary eyes look back in vain, 
To catch one sail of ail the brilliant group, 
Till they are dimmed with tears. 

Ah, wo is me ! 
That my poor bark is shattered and alone 
Upon the dark wide stream, which marches on 
Still farther every moment from the shore, 



MY OLD LETTERS. 101 

Where youth and joy were dancing to the songs 
Of bright-eyed innocence, so long ago, 
That now some trembling echoes of the strain, 
With now and then a soft and silvery gush 
Of distant laughter, floating on the tide 
All faintly to mine ears, declare how far 
The waves have borne me from those blessed bowers. 
And still I am their sport ; while thou art safe 
In that fair country, where immortal bliss 
Blooms in the sunlight of eternal love. 
Eternal love ! As if there were a love 
That is not everlasting, that can change, 
And die, like summer flowers. Oh Love, forgive 
The seeming treason ! This poor heart of mine 
Is not so unfamiliar with thy power, 
As to believe thee mortal, born of earth, 
And passing with its shadows. Love is pure, 
And dwelleth ever with the beautiful. 
Love never changeth, — Beauty will endure 
As long as any thing that God has made 
Shall wear the impress of his perfect hand. 
But we are changing, and our beauty's bloom 
Fades even in the bud. Our souls are weak, 
And bend like rushes to the fitful gusts 
Of passions all unholy ; and we burn 
Strange incense, kindled with unhallowed fire, 
Upon the holiest altar of our hearts, 
Within the temple consecrate to Love, 
And he deserts the desecrated shrine. 
Though he may pity our wild agony, 
He will not stay to soothe us. 'Tis not meet 
That he should nestle in the earth-born wreaths 
With which we seek to bind him, and remain 
9* 



102 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

When they are withered, and the canker-worms 

Apparent in their heart. Yet Love is true, 

And hath eternal life ; and all the pure, 

And all the beautiful, are full of Love, 

Linked by a chain of holy sympathies 

To Love's immortal heart, which pulses bliss 

Through all the braided chain, till every link 

Rings forth a living voice of melody ; 

These blessed voices, blending like the chime 

From myriad golden bells, rise up to God, 

And mingle with the harmony of heaven. 

Heaven ! Love ! — Oh heaven is love, and love is heaven, 

And every heart that proves the power of love, 

Has felt the bliss of heaven, and can attest 

That Love is an eternity of bliss, 

Which raises, purifies, and fills the soul, 

And knits its sympathies all unto God. 

But this w 7 orld hath a heavy atmosphere, 

Oppressed with darkness, frost, and stormy winds, 

And poor humanity is sick, and weak, 

And purblind in her vision, and her ear 

Is dull of hearing, and the iron chain 

Of nature lieth on her quivering wing 

With weight of doubt and sorrow. Yet we shrink 

And shudder, when the gentle hand of death 

Would set us free, and bear us to the world 

Of beauty, love, and glory. — 

Oh forgive, 
My loved, and loving, that I sometimes weep, 
And count ye lost to me. 'Tis when my soul 
Is darkened by the shadows that obscure 
The narrow windows of its house of clay, 
And I forget how bright, how beautiful, 



MY OLD LETTERS. 103 

How blessed, and how perfect, ye are now ; 
And that your love is all divinely pure, 
And fervent, as the fire that hallows heaven. 
But thou wert very pure, my gentle friend, 
Almost a seraph, in thy mortal form, 
And thou hast left sweet records of thy love, 
Traced by thy slender fingers, even when death 
Was busy at their nerves, and those dark eyes, 
Though strangely lustrous with the hectic fire, 
Unsteady in their light, and often dimmed 
By the near shadow of the coffin lid. 
Ah me ! I cannot now restrain my tears, 
As I peruse these lines, which long ago 
I blotted with such drops, which neither Time, 
With his slow opiate, nor Philosophy, 
With his cold torpor, nor Religion's voice 
Of balmy soothing, can forbid to flow, 
Whene'er, amongst the treasures of the past, 
I meet these leaflets of my broken rose. 

Oh here are well-known seals, that came to me 
Like angel messengers, each with its gifts 
Of thrilling joy. Mine eyes can beam no more 
With such a greeting as they gave to these; 
My heart can feel no more the bounding bliss 
That blest it, as I pressed them to my lips. 
They waken now a mournful memory, 
Which lives within my spirit as a thing 
Enshrined, and sacred, which no mortal eye 
May ever look upon. 

My soul is sad 
Amid its richest treasures. Though they breathe 
The sweetest music, still my spirit hears, 



104 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Amidst their loftiest hymn, an under-tone, 

Which wails of absence, death, and lovely hopes 

That perished in the bosom of the years 

That will return no more. Return no more ! 

However carelessly we touch the string 

That choruses the music of the past, 

It answers mournfully : No more ! — No more! 

My loved, my absent, and my glorified, 

Though we in this fair world may meet no more, 

Still I possess the impress of your souls 

In these dear letters, — and I sometimes bless 

The fate that led me to this solitude, 

To which the earnest heart of faithful love 

Pursues me with its blessed messengers. 

These are my consolation, when my feet 

Are weary, in the thorny path of life ; 

And when my heart, my timid woman-heart, 

Is yearning for a word of sympathy, 

A glance of kind approval, or one drop 

Of earnest consolation, then 'tis good 

To turn me to these angels, which my lot, 

My isolated and peculiar lot, 

Has won from great and good and tender hearts, 

Which thus have poured the treasures of their thoughts 

Into my bosom, — compensation rich 

For all my loneliness ; a living balm 

For all the painful bruises of my heart ; 

A breastwork of defence against the shafts 

Of cruelty's sharpshooters ; and a stay 

On which I may rely, when bitter words 

Fall on my head and heart, till I grow faint, 

And almost doubt myself. Oh then 'tis sweet 

To feel that ye who knew my inmost soul, 






MY OLD LETTERS. 105 

Ye who were pure, and competent to judge, 

Too good and wise to flatter or deceive, 

Spake thus to her, whose heart, and soul, and mind, 

And words, and actions, even the warmest leaf 

Of fond affection's dearly-cherished rose, 

Were to your spirits as an open book. 

Yes, here is comfort. But, dear comforters, 

The cares of life, a stern and clamorous throng, 

Are waking now. Go to your sanctuary, — 

And w 7 hen my heart is heavy unto death, 

Again your kind communing and soft balm 

Shall soothe it to the meek and grateful frame 

Which sits down patiently at Jesus' feet. 



SING ON ! 



" Sing on ! — You will win the wreath of Fame : if not in life, 
it will bloom gloriously over your tomb." 

Friendly Correspondence. 

'Tis not for Fame : I know I may not win 
A wreath from high Parnassus, for my name 
Is written on the page of humble life, 
From which the awarders of the laurel wreath 
Avert their eyes with scorning. 

I have felt 
The mildew of affliction, the east wind 
Of withering contempt, the pelting storms 
Of care, and toil, and bitterness, and w 7 o, 
In almost every form. I too have known 



106 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

The darkness of bereavement, and keen pangs 

Which woman may not utter, though her heart 

Consume amid their fierceness, and her brain 

Burn to a living cinder ; though the wound 

Which is so hard to bear, lie festering deep 

Within her outraged spirit; though her sighs 

Disturb the quiet of the blessed night, 

While sweet dews cool and soothe the fevered breast 

Of every other mourner ; though she pour 

The flood of life's sweet fountain out in tears, 

Along her desert pathway ; while the blooms 

Of health, and hope, and joy, that should have fed 

Upon its gushing waters and rich, dew, 

Lie withered in her bosom, breathing forth 

The odours of a crushed and wasted heart, 

That cannot hope for soothing or redress, 

Save in the quiet bosom of the grave, 

And in the heaven beyond. 

'Tis not for Fame 
That I awaken with my simple lay 
The echoes of the forest. I but sing 
As sings the bird, that pours her native strain, 
Because her soul is made of melody ; 
And lingering in the bowers, her warblings seem 
To gather round her all the tuneful forms, 
Whose bright wings shook rich incense from the flowers, 
And balmy verdure of the sweet young spring, 
O'er which the glad day shed his brightest smile, 
And night her purest tears. I do but sing 
Like that sad bird, who in her loneliness, 
Pours out in song the treasures of her soul, 
Which else would burst her bosom, which has nought 



i 



SING ON ! 107 

On which to lavish the warm streams that gush 
Up from her trembling heart, and pours them forth 
Upon the sighing winds, in fitful strains. 

Perchance one pensive spirit loves the song, 
And lingers in the twilight near the wood, 
To list her plaintive sonnet, which unlocks 
The sealed fountain of a hidden grief. — 
That pensive listener, or some playful child, 
May miss the lone bird's song, what time her wings 
Are folded in the calm and silent sleep, 
Above her broken heart. Then, though they w T eep 
In her deserted bower, and hang rich wreaths 
Of ever-living flowers upon her grave, 
What will it profit her who would have slept 
As deep and sweet without them ? 

Oh 1 how vain, 
With promised garlands for the sepulchre, 
To think to cheer the soul, whose daily prayer 
Is but for bread and peace ! — whose trembling hopes 
For immortality ask one green leaf 
From off the healing trees that grow beside 
The pure bright river of Eternal Life. 



DREAMS. 

How sweet the dreams of joy and love, 

That visit our repose ! 
Like gentle spirits from above, 

With balsam for ounwoes. 

How soft the dreaming angels come, 

And lay their shadowy wings 
O'er all the sorrows of my lot, 

And all unpleasant things. 

Then cares and pains of recent years,' 

And darker things are hid ; 
While tenderly they kiss the tears 

From off the trembling lid. 

And then from Memory's treasured wreath, 

They cull the holiest flowers ; 
And build, and deck in richest bloom, 

A thousand fairy bowers ; 

And tenant them with fair bright things, 

That long from me have fled, 
Some, on their own inconstant wings, 

Some, to the dreamless bed. 



DREAMS. 109 

My early home, with all its joys, 

Is spread before me then, 
And tender tones and beaming eyes 

Speak to my soul again. 

Again the garden, field, and grove, 
Are rich with fruits and flowers ; 

And birds are singing in their love, 
In all the breezy bowers. 

And voices, sweeter than the birds, 

More fragrant than the flowers, 
With melody of gentle words, 

Enchant the joyous hours. 

Then every tone, and glance, and smile, 

Is innocence and truth ; 
And earnest hearts unite the while, 

In firmest faith of youth. 

Affections long since wrecked, or dead, 

Are warm and trusted then ; 
And beauteous, from the grass-grown bed, 

My lost ones come again. 

Oh ! where have young life's dear delights 

Found an abiding home? 
From whence to bless these joyless nights, 

Their dreamy spirits come ? 



10 



HYMN FOR CHRISTMAS. 

Hail ! holy morn, above all others blessed, 

Day heralded by angels from above, 
With hymns of glory unto God on high, 

And promises to men of peace and love. 

Hail, holy morning! Birthday of the King 
Of Life, of Peace, and Glory ! Joy to earth ! 

We come with palms, and songs, and offerings, 
To keep the festival of Jesus' birth. 

When first upon the dark chaotic mass 

Moved God's Creative Spirit, bringing forth 

Order, and light, and beauty, and young life, 
'Till in its orbit hung the perfect Earth ; — 

When scents and colours in the flowers had birth, 
And myriad forms of life began to move ; 

When in his Maker's image man was made, 
In beauty perfect, animate with love ; 

Then heaven was vocal with the choral hymn 
Of radiant morning stars, and this glad earth 

Echoed the shouts with which the sons of God 

Poured forth their wondering joy at Nature's birth. 



HYMN FOR CHRISTMAS. Ill 

If there was such rejoicing, when a world 
Was born to death, and man to guilt and wo, 

What songs, what joy should hail the better morn 
That saw Immanuel cradled here below ! 

Ay, cradled in a manger ', — sleeping there 
The soft unconscious sleep of infancy, 

Watched by his fair young mother's dewy eyes, 
While angels sung the Christ's nativity. 

Glory to God ! in highest, gladdest strains, — 
Peace upon earth, and good will unto men ! 

" Glory to God !" the holy seraphs sung, 
u Glory to God !" let earth reply again. 

Joy to the world ! The Babe of Bethlehem 
Is now the King of glory, throned above ; 

He has redeemed his people from their sins, 
With mighty sufferings, and surpassing love. 

Oh ! come, and let us worship, bending low 
With tearful penitence, and humble joy ; 

Let every heart adore, and every voice 
Hymn forth a song of grateful melody. 

Come to his temple, where the living greens 
Are twined to do him honour ; where his name 

Swells on the pealing anthem, till all hearts 
Are full of heaven — devotion's ardent flame. 

Come to his holy temple — He is there, 

To bless the souls that seek him. Let us bring 

Our evergreen faith, hope, and charity, 

In humble offering. Let us kneel and sing : — 



112 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Hail, day of solemn gladness ! Through all time 
Highest and holiest. Angels shout again, 

To you is born a Saviour, Christ, the Lord ! 

Glory to God ! — Peace and good will to men ! — 

Saviour of man — Eternal Son of God, 

Who once in Bethlehem's lowly manger lay, 

Oh ! throne thyself in every humble heart, 
That comes to celebrate thy natal day ! 



LIFE'S CHANGES. 

I saw her in her sunny loveliness, 
In ripened beauty, both of form and face ; 
The morning flush* of girlhood was no more, 
With careless tone, free step, and merry laugh ; 
The sun of love had melted these away. 
As day dispels the glitter of the dew, 
And melts away the crimson morning cloud 
That veils the deep bright azure of the heaven, 
Revealing all its ocean-flood of light, 
So shone the soul of woman all unveiled 
In its deep love and truth upon her face, 
And 'mongst the gentle creatures that looked out 
From those clear eyes, a trembling spirit lay, 
Which told that she would sleep the careless sleep 
Of girlhood never more. Yet such a smile 
Of holy tenderness was on her lips 
As never graced the face of maidenhood, 
For on her bosom slept her own young babe, 



life's changes. 113 

Her first, her precious one. The dewy rose 

Of love maternal, sweetest bloom of earth, 

Lay in her bosom, with the wakeful cares 

That grow in thorny clusters on its stem. 

But Hope stood smiling by ; — her sunny hair 

Wreathed with the brightest buds and flowers of spring ; 

Her magic harp displayed the morning star, 

And such a trancing melody she sung, 

As wrapped the mother's heart in trembling bliss, 

As closer to her heart she hugged the babe, 

And pressed upon its cheek a warmer kiss. 

Again I saw that mother. Beautiful 
She was, like summer when the flowers are gone, 
And deep green garland glittering to the sun, 
Like brooding pinions tremble o'er the spring. 
Her eyes were full of joy, a pure, proud joy, 
For they were fixed in love upon her child, 
A maid of perfect beauty and rich mind, 
Yet meek and gentle as the petted lamb. 
She sat upon a sofa, and the book 
In which the humble find eternal life, 
Lay open on her knees, and her sweet voice 
Pronounced its treasured words so feelingly, 
That the delighted mother's soul went out 
To that sweet pious child with tender bliss. 

Hope still was there, with wreaths of fragrant flowers, 
And her emblazoned harp, crowned gloriously 
With blossomed laurel from the Muses' hill, 
Fresh with the dew that heaven benignly weeps 
On Zion's holy mountain. Still a tear 
Stood in her azure eye, for she perceived, 
Amid the garlands that she gloried in, 
10* 



114 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Some pale and drooping flowers, and well she knew 

That the insidious canker of disease 

Lay in their velvet bloom, eating their life, 

And with her song was blent a low sad strain, 

So sweet and dirgelike, rilling every pause, 

That those who listened wept, they knew not why. 

Once more I saw that mother — but her cheek 
Was pale and hollow, and upon her brow 
Was written deep the tracery of care. 
Amid the locks combed smoothly o'er her brow 
Were many threads of white, and her blue eyes 
Were dim and full of tears. Her form was bent, 
As if her heart was broken, and her soul 
Crushed down and longing for the quiet grave — 
Tha.t holy chamber, where no pain, or fear, 
Or sorrow, enters with its bitterness, 
To agitate the still and silent heart. 
The daughter she had so entirely loved, 
Her only joy — the tender fragrant rose, 
Whose balmy beauty had been all her bliss, 
Lay there before her, still and beautiful, 
All robed in white and crowned with pale sweet flowers. 
Is she a bride to-day ? If it be so, 
Why is her cheek so white, and wherefore lie 
The soft brown lashes of her heavy eyes 
So fixedly upon her velvet cheek ? 
And why is there no motion to disturb 
The thin transparent hands, that lie so still 
Upon her bosom ? Wherefore is the smile 
L T pon her lips so fixed, so spiritless? 
And why is her pure brow so marble-like 
And mute in its expression? She is dead ! 



life's changes. 115 

And ready to be carried to the grave ! 

The mother's eye, which for so many years 

Had turned for all its joy-beams unto her, 

Must see the coffin closed, and the cold sods 

Heaped over the fine form, concealing it 

For ever — oh, for ever ! — from her view. 

How shall she bear it ? How shall she endure 

This bitter breaking of the tenderest tie 

Amongst her heart-strings ? Oh, delusive Hope ! 

Where now are all thy brilliant promises? 

And where thy fragrant garlands ? Where art thou ? 

Oh, meek and ever-present comforter ! 

Sweet solace of all ills, behold she stands 

Supporting the bereaved so tenderly ; 

Her earth-born flowers lie withered at her feet, 

And wet with tears — but o'er her placid brow 

Is twined fresh balm of Gilead, and her harp 

Wears, like a coronet, the bow of heaven. 

The living laurel, late its glorious crown, 

Hangs on the everlasting arch of Fame, 

Where cloudless sunshine and the purest dew, 

Will rest on it for ever. Blessed Hope ! — 

She sings so softly now, and points away 

To ever-blooming gardens of delight, 

Where, 'midst ten thousand young and lovely forms, 

By Mercy taken from life's wilderness 

Before the mildew or the canker-worm 

Had touched their tender beauty, — wrapped in bliss, 

Which fills the spirit, so that it hath nought 

To wish or hope for, yet increases still, 

Expanding with the soul's capacities, 

And filling them for ever — that sweet child 

Lives, radiant with immortal happiness. 



116 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

And canst thou wish her back to earth ? she asks, 

Where thou shalt linger but few years at most. 

No, rather let me lead thee to the gate 

Of her bright resting-place — the gate at which 

I take my leave of all earth's travellers ; 

I have no place in the eternal world ; 

The dwellers in the bright land need me not, 

And at the gate of everlasting night 

Despair forbids my entrance. 

Yet on earth 
I live, sustain, and soothe, and sing of heaven. 

" Oh, blessed, holy Hope!"- the mourner sighed, 
" I do not mourn as those who see thy lyre 
Unstrung and crushed, amid thy perished flowers ; 
I knqw — I know ! that my Redeemer lives, 
That in his presence I shall meet my child, 
In deathless joy and beauty." 



JESUS WALKING ON THE WATER. 

M And in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went unto them, 
walking on the sea." — Make xiv. 26. 

When life's clear untroubled waters, 

In the morning sunlight flowed, 
In the barge of girlish gladness 

Down the pleasant stream I rode. 

All the shores were green with bowers, 
Where the wild birds sung of love, 



JESUS WALKING ON THE WATER. 117 

Every breeze waved wreaths of flowers, 
Silver-pebbled strands above ; 

While in rich and languid beauty, 

Still by creek and shallow bay, 
Trembling on the dimpling waters, 

Wreaths of lotus-lilies lay. 

Variegated birds were sporting 

'Mid the blossoms on the tide, 
Life, and love, and joy, and beauty, 

Dressed the scene on every side. 

Friendship o'er the chart presided, 

Hope sat smiling at the oar, 
Love and Joy, with siren voices, 

Sung the bliss of flood and shore. 

But the whirlwinds of affliction 

Woke me from my sweet repose, 
And the heavy clouds of sorrow 

On the stormy gale arose. 

Then upheaved the crested billow, 

Tossing with exulting howl, 
As the lion, roused from slumber, 

Shakes his mane with threatening growl. 

All my sea-birds, wild with terror, 

Sprang, shrill shrieking from the flood, 

Meteors seemed their flashing pinions, 
As above the surge they rode. 



118 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

And the pearly water-lilies, 
From their oozy beds uptorn, 

Were in wrecked and broken beauty 
By the conquering billows worn. 

While, with hoarse and angry chiding, 
On the shore, the driving spray 

Swept the bird's nest and the blossoms 
From the ruined bower away. 

One wild scene of desolation 

Spread its forms by land and tide, 

One deep voice of .utter anguish 
Moaned around on every side. 

O'er the glad day's radiant features 
Twilight spread her mantle dark, 

Blackness, death, and deep destruction, 
Gathered round my shuddering bark. 

In that hour of night and horror, 
While despair rode on the storm, 

Walking on the rolling billows, 
I beheld a shining form. 

Oh, how dreadful was his presence, 
As he walked the waves alone, 

In the pure and radiant glory 
That around his. person shone. 

Nearer came the august vision ; 
Burst my fears in one wild cry ; 



HE DIED. 119 



Then he spake in tones of music : 
" Be not fearful— It is I !" 

Then I knew him — It was Jesus, 
He, whom winds and waves obey, 

He, who o'er the fiercest spirits, 
Rules with calm and potent sway. 

Help, Lord ! help me, or I perish ! 

See, my bark is all a wreck ; 
Jesus heard, and, touched with pity, 

Stepped upon the wave- washed deck. 

Instantly the winds subsided, 
And the billows sunk to rest ; 

Rose the sun, and showed before me 
Scenes in heavenly beauty drest. 

Lord ! I pray thee, guide my vessel 
Down this swift and treacherous flood, 

To the land where peace eternal 
Smiles around the throne of God. 



HE DIED. 

He died ! — This sentence hath a fearful sound 
To every mortal ear ; He died ! He died ! 
Is written on the page of history, 
From Adam, downward, to the present day. 
The consummation of the lot of man, 
With all his years, his good and evil deeds, 
His hopes, his fears, and joys, is this — He died. 



120 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

The hero lived ; he conquered states and kings, 
He rased the stately city to the ground ; 
He led his myriads to the battle-field, 
And made earth fat with blood — at length he died I 
Fame blazons forth his acts, but Pity weeps, 
And kind Humanity conceals her face, 
While Virtue blushes o'er his epitaph. 

The monarch swayed the sceptre of a realm ; 
His will was law ; he held the destinies 
Of many millions. He was honoured, feared, 
Perchance beloved. The wide world knew his name, 
His fellow-men knelt to him ; yet he died ! 
His name is written for posterity, 
Who bless or curse his memory, as his deeds 
Seem good or evil in their partial eyes. 

He died. The old man, with his snowy hair, 
His trembling hands, his weak and weary feet, 
And tottering frame, is ready for the grave. 
And who is he, who lies outstretched before us ? 

He has been 

All that we now are who surround his grave; 
A fair young mother's joy, a father's care, 
Their hope and pride, a happy cherished child. 
He, too, has climbed the steep and arduous path 
Of literary fame with ardent zeal, 
And eye fixed on the ever-verdant wreath 
That glory proffers to young Genius' brow. 
His hopes were high, were realized, or crushed — 
It matters nothing now. And he has been 
The warm and faithful lover. He has known 
The purest, sweetest passion of the heart — 



HE DIED. 121 

The bliss of virtuous love, with full returns. 

She was as faultless as a mortal maid 

Could be ; — as beautiful as aught of earth 

Has ever been ; — as fond as woman's love — 

Her young, confiding, earth-untainted love — 

Has ever proved itself. And he had sense 

To see her worth ; to lock her whole fond heart 

Safely within his own ; to keep untouched 

The treasure of her confidence in him ; 

And they were wholly happy. That is past — 

Long years ago he laid her in the grave, 

And all his gladness with her. He has been 

A kind and tender father. He has seen 

His sons and daughters at his loved one's breast, 

In their first infancy ; while her bright eye 

Turned from her babe to him, from him to heaven. 

He saw them flourish, beautiful and strong, 

Like olive plants, around his ample board, 

And poured his thanks to God. Where are they now ? 

Scattered to every clime — save that grave man, 

Whose hair is dashed with silver, and who looks 

With swimming eye down into the deep grave. 

This is the youngest of the little band 

That used to gambol round him ; yet he stands 

With children and grandchildren dressed in weeds 

For this their patriarch father. He has been 

A father to his people, — honoured, loved, 

Consulted, and believed. A nation's heart 

Has bowed before his virtues. Yet he died ! — 

She died ! — the young, the loved, the beautiful, 
The wife, the mother died. Fierce agonies 

11 



122 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Were preying on her vitals. Cruel pangs 

Racked every nerve ; each pulse beat fitfully ; 

Her hands were cold, her eyes were wild and dim, 

Yet tears were streaming o'er her death- white cheek, 

Upon the little face that fondly still 

Was pressed against her bosom. One pale arm, 

With strong and stiffening grasp was twined around 

Her sobbing husband's neck, while broken words, 

Uttered at intervals amidst her pangs, 

Commend her infant to its father's care ; 

And every word and agonizing look 

Proved how love triumphs in a icodicui's heart 

O'er agony and death ; though every throb 

Was but a death-pang, and its strings were racked 

'With life's last tension, and the blood grew cold, 

And curdled painfully within its cells, 

Stilt — still it overflowed with tender care 

And love toward its treasures. Oh, how high 

That heart has danced to bliss ; what thrilling hopes 

Have played amongst its young elastic strings, 

Making joy's melody ! Ah, she has been 

The happy, careless girl, the worshipped bride, 

The fond expectant mother, with her wealth 

Of treasured hopes and pictures of high joys 

Along a sunny future. And — she died! 

Her widowed husband's heart will heal ere long, 

And find another treasure ; and the child, 

For which her dvin^ heart so agonized, 

Will never know its loss. Though haply, when 

Earth's cold reality comes with its blight 

O'er young life's joyous fancies, it may say, 

" Had my own mother lived, I should have had 

One friend at least, and these things had not been." 



HE DIED. 123 

He died ! The miserable vagabond 

Has found a home at last. No weepers stand 

Around his open grave, and none inquire 

What variegated scenes of c;ood and ill 

His path has led him through ; what varied climes 

His weary pilgrim feet have traversed o'er ; 

How madly he has loved ; how bitterly 

Cold Disappointment, with her iron hand, 

Has wrung his heartstrings : how Bereavement stood 

For ever in his path, till manhood's pride 

Ceased to contend with fate, and he became 

A hopeless, reckless, houseless fugitive, 

For Scorn's hard eye to smile at. Yet even then, 

While braving the proud world, and rushing on 

To ruin and perdition, one kind word, 

One look of humid sympathy, could reach 

The buried spring of feeling in his breast, 

Which, gushing forth, proclaimed him still a Man ! 

None care for these things. 'Tis enough — he died! 

He died ! The feeble infant of an hour 
Has passed the pangs of death. A few fond hopes 
Are buried with it, and a mother's heart 
Alone re-echoes to the words — he died ! 

He died ! — She died ! — has been pronounced of all 
The by-past human race ; and soon these words 
Will be our sad memorial. We must die ! 
Must ! There is no reprieve. 'Tis God's decree. 
All that has life must die, and be dissolved 
Into its native elements. The form 
That seems so passing fair, is so beloved, 
And clings so fondly, by a thousand ties, 



124 



THE FOREST MINSTREL. 



Around its loved ones, soon will pass away. 
Is there a heart that will not pause and shrink, 
Though throbbing e'er so high with hope and joy, 
When this appalling doom rings through the ear, 
Along its shivering strings ? that will not turn 
And seek instinctively with shuddering dread 
Some refuge — some avenue of escape 1 
But Nature points to none. Her proudest light 
Could never pierce the loathsome shade of death ; 
Her hand still writes on all things — Man must die ! 



Hail glorious light 
Of Revelation ! Brightly beaming 4 forth 
From the Eternal Mind. — Pure Nature, rise ! 
Throw off thy shuddering despondency ; 
"Look through this heavenly beam to future life — 
To realms of blessed immortality, 
Where pain, and age, and agony, and tears, 
And death, and parting, never can intrude 
On that sweet rest, which God through Jesus gives. 
Read and believe ; — We die — to live again ! 



A THOUGHT OF GOD. 

God ! Fearful majesty is in the sound 
Of that dread syllable. The soul bows down 
At its enunciation, filled w 7 ith awe, 
Of Him who is incomprehensible ; 
Who fills immensity, whose name is God ; 
Who is from everlasting, and who knows 
Nor past, nor future ; living through all time, 
In one eternal noiv. To whom all space 
Illimitable is a single point, 
An ever present here. Immensity 
Was full of Him, while yet he dwelt alone, 
The perfect light, life, love, and happiness, 
Defying diminution or increase. 
God ! who in his omnipotence arose 
And spake void chaos into solid forms 
And thin vacuity. God ! who in light 
Went forth, and filled the boundless universe 
With such a flood of glory that the spheres 
Awoke, and with adoring melody 
Commenced the movements of the radiant dance, 
Of which the mystic mazes, until now 
They braid, in perfect order, shining each 
And singing with the splendour and the bliss 
Caught in that earliest morning of God's light. 
11* 



126 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

God ! who walked through his universe in life, 

While vegetation in its myriad forms 

Sprang from the dust, each catching from the light 

The hue or softened tint its texture loved. 

And living creatures, strong and beautiful 

In sentient life, walked gravely on the earth, 

Swam in the floods, or floated on the air. 

God ; who in love touched every sentient chord, 

Attuning them to bliss, so that each thread 

And fibre of his animated works 

Felt his exalted touch, and gave its tone 

To the full chorus of the raptured hymn. 

Oh, can these finite instruments of praise, 
By searching, find out God 1 Can we, whose feet 
Cleave to our parent-earth, whose utmost stretch 
Of vision is a point on this small globe, 
This speck amongst his works ; whose longest time 
Is less than nothing, measured on the scale 
Of his eternity ; whose holiest thoughts 
Are dim and feeble rays, that struggle forth 
Into the darkness of a stormy night, 
From the immortal lamp, that burns within 
The earthen lantern of mortality : — 
Shall man in pride presume to search out God, 
The Everliving, the Omnipotent, 
The Omnipresent, the creating God, 
Who keeps the innumerable hosts of worlds 
All balanced in their orbits, and to whom 
The smallest creature in the universe 
Is equally apparent, equally 



V THOUGHT OF GOD. 127 

An object of his care, with those great globes 
That rush, with streaming light and mighty sound, 
Sweeping wide circles through immensity ? 

Shall man, who seeks in vain to understand 
How the small ray of God within himself, 
Communes with the brute matter of his form, 
Question of God? presuming God within 
The narrow compass of his feeble mind ? 
Amazing pride of bloated ignorance ! 
That he, who cannot analyze one drop 
Of summer rain, should think to lay the whole 
Of the vast ocean with its mysteries 
So open that an infant's intellect 
Might count its atoms, comprehend and tell 
The wonders over which unfathomed depths 
Have rolled in darkness since the world was made. 

God has revealed sufficient of himself 
To fill the intellect he gave and bend 
The spirit down before him. 

Let not pride 
Attempt to climb upon a beam of light 
Up to the centre of the burning sun, 
And search its intense nature. 

Equally 
Vain and presumptuous is the hope to scan 
The nature or the perfect ways of God. 



THE SHIPWRECK. 

The ship was sweeping homeward in her pride, 
With white sails swelling o'er the deep green sea, 
On which the spirits of the moonlight danced 
In wavering cotillions, to the tones 
Of glad old ocean's everlasting song 
The night sat still and silent, 'neath the arch 
Of her blue airy temple, whence the meek, 
And deep bright glances of heaven's watchers look 
On all earth's deeds. Oh ! if heaven registers 
But half the acts they witness, what a score 
Will blast the conscience of a guilty world, 
When doomsday's book is opened ! 

But the ship, 
In majesty of motion riding on, 
Bore in her bosom many living souls, 
Of various tempers, fortunes, hopes, and aims. 
First were the gallant crew. The officers, 
Each steady to his trust, and well aware 
That this fair vessel's destiny, the fates 
Of all on board, depended on their care. 
The brave tars next, each to his duty true, 
Stood firmly at his post, or climbed the shroud, 
Or held the flying tackle; ready still 
To catch and execute the master's word. 



THE SHIPWRECK. 129 

These fearless men had whole and noble hearts, 
That proudly spurned at danger, and they seemed 
To have no thought or purpose, separate 
From that fair moving palace. Yet the eye 
That looks into the spirit, could discern 
Deep thoughts of home, with its rich holy loves, 
Playing around their hearts, as silently 
They paced the deck, or cast along the wave 
The tender anxious glance, or look toward heaven, 
With supplication on the sunburnt face. 
Ah, yes, the roving sailor has a heart ; 
His steel-cased breast is full of tenderness, 
Which gushes ever at the blessed word, Home. 
And these were dreaming, sleeping or awake, 
Of joys and welcomes waiting for them there. 

Yet one stood gazing o'er the vessel's side, 
Who had no home in all the joyous earth. 
He knew not where his infancy was passed, 
Nor did the image of a mother live 
Amid the cherished memories of his soul. 
His earliest recollections hovered round 
A thin and pale though noble-looking man, 
Who used to look with fond but restless eye 
Upon his childish sports ; and on his mind 
A broken dreamy recollection dwelt, 
Of a confused and agitated scene, 
When that pale man lay moaning on a couch, 
And said, as one supported his weak form, 
11 Come, kiss your dying father, Isadore." 
And he remembered, too, how he had shrunk 
With childhood's sobbing terror, from the glance 
Of a white-headed and hard-featured man, 



130 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Who sternly said, " Bow to your grandfather !" 

And there were none to love him, none to press 

The warm fond kiss upon his little brow ; 

To clasp him fondly to affection's breast ; 

To soothe his little woes and guide his sports. 

And he was lonely, for his spirit lacked 

The living balsam of parental love, 

Which heals the wounds that otherwise remain 

To ache, and fester, and embitter life. 

So he became a sad and moody boy, 

Misanthropic e'en from his infancy. 

And he had been a wanderer on the earth, 

Displeased, and cavilling at all he onet ; 

Distrustful where he might have well relied ; 

Reserved when friendship wooed him ; cold and sad 

Where all around was happiness and joy. 

One lone bright star had beamed upon his path, 
For he had loved, had worshipped ; — all his heart, 
Soul, and affections centered round the form 
Of one fair fragile girl, whose very life 
Was confidence, and happiness, and love. 
But death's cold angel snatched her from his breast, 
And laid her in the bosom of the earth. 
And now his sighs blent sadly with the breeze, 
And big bright tears were dropping one by one, 
Upon the bosom of the cold salt sea, 
Which feels and heeds them, just as this cold world 
Feels sorrow's tear, or heeds the bitter drops 
That she herself wrings from the feeling heart. 

Slow pacing to and fro, with measured tread, 
And eye that seemed to study on the deck 
Some Euclid problem, a rich merchant walked. 



TIIE SHIPWRECK. 131 

His brain was busy, not with thoughts of love, 
Or nature's fond affections ; yet he had 
A sweet and peaceful home, a gentle wife, 
And children, who were daily asking, " When 
Will our dear father come?" And when the storm 
Was howling round their dwelling, they would say : 
" Dear mother, does it storm so on the sea?" 
And then her woman heart would palpitate 
With all the phantoms of the billowy deep. 
But his heart was not with them. He has made 
A prosperous voyage, and his tutored mind 
Luxuriates in his gains, and he is now 
Contriving speculations, that shall swell 
Another hundred-fold, his mammoth wealth. 

Leaning against a mast, with folded arms, 
And dark eyes fixed upon the smiling moon, 
Whose melting liarht lav cradled with the beams 
Of sad and tender thought within their depths, 
A pale youth stood. His treasure and his heart 
Were far beyond the billows, in the home 
Of that fair girl, with whom, from infancy, 
He blended soul and mind. Yet three long years 
Had ocean billows, with their foamy crests, 
Heaved fearfully between them, and he felt, 
Now that he voyaged homeward, all the pangs 
Of hope, and fear, and fond mortality. 
Would Laura greet him with a joyous smile, 
And hide her blushing face upon his breast? 
And would he find upon her trembling hand 
The ring he gave at parting ? Is she fair, 
And innocent, and pure, as when they roved 



132 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

The spring-clad hills together? Is her heart 
Untouched by pride or flattery ? Does she love 
As fondly now as when he kissed the tears 
From her pale cheek at parting, while her form 
Shook like an aspen ? Or was he no more 
The loved of her affections ? Or had death 
Proved a dire rival, and made her his bride? 
Oh ! for the strong wings of the gull, to ny 
And end these agonizing doubts at once. 

Within the cabin of that fated ship, 
Beat many an anxious bosom. There was one 
Who long ago forsook his native land, 
To woo the goddess Fortune. He had sought, 
By nights of watching, days of toil and care, 
Stern self-denial, and the sacrifice 
Of every generous impulse, to obtain 
Her gracious golden smile; and he had won 
The envy-moving treasure ; he was rich ! 
And his heart swelled with triumph, as he dwelt' 
Upon the consequence, the lordly pomp, 
The proud superior air he would assume 
Amongst his schoolday equals. Oh, how vain ! 
Beside him sat his young and lovely wife, 
Busied with other thoughts ; for she had left 
Youth's consecrated home, and fond regrets 
Were shadowing forth the memories of days, 
And joys, and loved ones, that would never more 
Come sweetly to her spirit ; she had left 
Her all for one whom she had never loved, 
Who wooed and won her, as the fowler takes 
The wild bird in his net, and who would keep 



THE SHIPWRECK. 133 

His bright-winged pet a captive, to adorn 
His splendid mansion, and to pour her tones 
Of mellow sweetness only on his ear. 

Near them, upon a couch, a feeble girl, 
With hectic cheek and fever-flashing eye, 
And soft low moan of pain and weakness, lay. 
Her mother sat beside her, whose deep sobs 
Came painfully upon her thrilling ear. 
" Dear mother, do not weep so," murmured forth 
The dying maiden ; but the mother's grief 
Became more wild and deep. " Oh, Rosabel ! 
My child, my only one ! how can I live, 
And see thee sink and die ? Oh, how shall I, 
To whom thou hast been all in all so long, 
Exist without thee ? When thy gentle voice 
No more shall greet me, or thy radiant smile 
Shed sunlight through my heart ? What shall I do, 
When thou requirest my fond care no more, 
Ay, when thou art no more? Oh, Rosabel, 
In all my sorrows, thou hast been to me 
Heaven's gift of consolation. When I knelt 
Beside thy father's couch, when his thin cheek 
And sunken eyes were lighted up like thine ; — 
Oh, 'tis the sunset glory of the west, 
Sure harbinger of darkness ! — then, when first 
I felt the frailty of all earthly good, 
And felt my young heart breaking ! Oh, that scene ! 
Thine arms were round my neck, and thy red lips 
Pressed to my forehead, while thy little heart 
Poured forth its simple soothing, till at length, 
As wholly heedless of thee, I wept on, 
Thou laidst thy little hand upon my neck, 
12 



134 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

And sobb'dst out, < Mother loved poor Rosa once, 

But now she will not hear her.' Then I felt 

'Twas cruelty to cloud the sunny mom 

Of childhood with the shadow of my grief, 

Or tinge thy rich young spirit with the gloom 

Of death and mourning ; and for thy sweet sake, 

I struggled to support a weary life, 

Assumed a calm demeanour, ay, and smiled, 

Lest thy young heart should languish, till at length 

My soul grew tranquil in reality. 

And when that scene was past, and I became 

A widow ! then I wore a cheerful mien 

Above a blighted heart, 1-est thy young soul 

Should grow familiar with the tones of wo, 

And feel the weight of sadness, which bends down 

The feeling spirit in its early bloom ! 

Oh, I have loved thee solely ! and I hoped 

That thou wouldst solace my declining years ; — 

But it is over now — a few days more 

It may be mine to watch the waning light 

Of thy pure spirit ; then the sea ! the sea ! — 

I cannot yield thee ! Oh, the ocean grave !" — 

11 Dear mother, do not, I beseech thee, weep 
So bitterly. What boots the marble tomb, 
Or grave of earth ? The wave will just as well 
Conceal the loathsomeness of flesh's decay ; 
I care not where my worn-out garment lies. 
Do, mother, banish these afflicting thoughts, 
And look away to heaven. There's comfort there — 
Rich consolation and eternal peace. 

" My soul is grateful for the love and care 
Which thou hast lavished on me, and which I 
Can never now return, since everv day 



THE SHIPWRECK. 135 

Makes my debt greater and my means more scant. 

Dear mother, be content to let me go 

A little while before thee. Look to God ; 

He will not leave his children comfortless." 

Who interrupts the sobbing parlance now ? 
A meagre-looking, tearful little girl 
Advances, with a timid courtesy, — 
" Madam," she said, " you weep, and you can feel 
For my poor mother's sorrow. Come, I pray, 
And look upon her ; she is very ill." 

" Go with her, mother ;" whispered Rosabel, 
" The Lord perchance has sent her to divert 
The selfish current of our bitterness." 

Deep in the ship's side, in a wretched berth, 
Was laid the mother of that hapless child, 
Writhing and groaning with a fierce disease. 
Her husband left his country for the land 
Of equal rights, three weary years before ; 
And he had gained a comfortable home 
For his dear wife and child, and they were now 
Upon their voyage to rejoin him there. 
His heart was yearning to embrace once more 
The idol of his young and faithful love, 
To clasp the sweet child, who in infancy 
Sat cooing on his knee, or twined his neck 
So lovingly with her soft little arms ; 
While Mary spread the neat but humble board. 
His heart was masculine ; it did not dwell, 
Like woman's, on the dangers of the sea, 
O'er which his loved ones journeyed. Could he now 



136 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Have stood beside that berth, how had his hopes 
And glad heart-beatings died in pain away. 

The murmuring widow gazed upon the scene ; 
And her heart smote her as she looked upon 
Affliction so much bitterer than her own. 
Beside that sufferer's bed no gentle friend 
Stood, prompt to do the ministry of love ; 
And that poor little child, whose trembling hand 
Held the cold water up to her parched lips, 
Oh, how her sobs of childish agony 
Convulsed the mother's heart ! " Oh, Emetine ! 
Who will protect thee ? — who will comfort thee, 
And lead thee to thy father ?" she exclaimed. 
" I will protect thy child," the widow said, 
" And serve thee to the utmost of my power." 
" My God, I thank thee ! ■ Thou hast heard my voice, 
My cares are all removed, — I die in peace !" 

In her own cabin, heedless of these scenes 
Of death and sorrow, lay a simple maid, 
Weeping in bitterness the night away, 
Ay, supplicating heaven for death's relief. 
Yet neither pain nor sickness agonized 
Her youthful person, and she was possessed 
Of riches, beauty, dear and gentle friends. 
What then was her affliction 1 Why the child 
Had listened to the flatteries of a man, 
Whom her young heart deemed faultless, for he seemed 
Disinterested, generous, noble-souled, 
And so devoted — could she doubt his truth ? 
Then he was handsome, graceful, and genteel ; 
Her eye was dazzled, and her simple heart 



THE SHIPWRECK. 137 

Quite captivated ; and she thought that earth 
Had not another like him, or held aught 
That could compensate for her loss of him. 

Her father saw him in another light; 
A libertine, a base, designing knave, 
A fortune-hunter, a low grovelling soul, 
The old man's keen and well-experienced eye 
Discovered him to be. He loved his child, 
And sought to save her from the bitter years 
Of bootless, keen repentance and distress. 
This was the sorrow that so frenzied her. 

Screened by the damask curtains of her bed, 
A lady, her companion, knelt in prayer. 
She knew affliction ; she had been abroad 
With her young husband, who went forth to seek 
The restoration of his shattered health. 
But all her cares and watchings had been vain, 
And her last hope was to conduct him home, 
That he might look on his own land once more, 
And sleep within its bosom. But the Lord 
Had otherwise determined. She had watched 
All the long lonely night beside his couch, 
Still prompt to minister and soothe his pain, 
And she had closed the eyes from which her soul 
Had drank the purest, sweetest happiness 
Of earth's affection ; and she then composed, 
For the last time, those black and glossy curls, 
Which she so loved to comb and to arrange 
Upon his noble brow. And she had seen 
That form, so beautiful, so much beloved, 
Sink down to the low caverns of the deep, 
For ever, from her sight. Oh, that was grief; 
12* 



138 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

And she wept wildly, for she did not boast 
That fortitude which some admire so much, 
But which exists with apathy alone. 
Feeling will gush ; no high, no proud resolve 
Can choke the utterance of the gushing heart. 
And Emma wept, but she forgot not God. 
She wept with resignation, and poured out 
The humble breathing of a broken heart ; 
And He who shook her idol from its throne, 
Gave her the presence of a God instead, 
And she bowed down and worshipped. 

Other sounds 
Than voice of grief, or prayer, or dying pain, 
Rose on the night air from that gallant bark. 
Forth from the cabin swelled the patriot song, 
With loud and stirring chorus, as the bowl, 
Which makes the dastard brave, went freely round. 
Card-tables there, and dice, and chess, were spread ; 
And sleight-of-hand and secret villany 
Defrauded the poor dupes who vainly thought 
That hoodwinked fortune had presided there ; 
And oaths and imprecations fierce and loud 
Burst from hot lips, which, ever and anon, 
Were bathed in flashing wine, and cursed alike 
Success or disappointment. 

Oh, great God ! 
That fearful shock ; that wild and shrieking cry 
That sprang at once toward heaven from all on board, 
As the broad bottom of that plated hull 
Struck on the lurking reef! Another shock ! 
" We are all lost /" exclaimed a shrieking voice, 



THE SHIPWRECK. 139 

Which pierced the cabins with its knell of death ; 
And one wild swell of horror and despair 
Swept o'er each pausing heart, and washed away 
All sense of other wo. 

Ha ! where had fled 
The deep and varied passions, that but now 
Held strong dominion in those awe-struck breasts ? 
Death ! — Death is present ! What availeth now 
The home that waits the wanderer, with its smiles, 
And warm embrace of love? What boots it now 
To the warped heart of the misanthrope, 
That life is not all sunlight? Gloriously 
Breaks forth its parting beam. Oh, earth is fair ! 
And life is sweet, now that Eternity 
Comes booming on the waves — sweeping away 
All but the bare reality of things. 

Who now is brooding over luckless love ? 
Who reckons up, and glories in his gains ? 
Who thinks of pale consumption and disease ? 
Who dwells with sad regretful memories 
Of loved ones, who have passed the cold dark porch 
Of the eternal city, at whose gates 
They all stand shuddering? Where is now the flush 
Of the wine fever? Where the vivid glow 
Of proud success ? Where has the dark hue fled 
Which gushes from the baffled writhing heart 
Up to the gambler's brow ? 

Each cheek is pale, 
And every spirit passionless and faint 
W T ith cold death-sickness. 

Through the shattered hull 
The wild relentless waters rushed and roared, 



140 



THE FOREST MINSTREL. 



As the fierce armies of the olden time 

Rushed shouting through the breaches in the wall 

Of some proud kingly city. 

To the boats ! 
All life's fond hopes are with them ! and Despair 
To that frail refuge turned her piercing eyes — 
But they were filled, and paddled from the wreck, 
And lay — aghast with terror, as it were — 
Watching the fearful issue. Even those 
Who proved victorious in the fearful strife 
To reach the boats — even they, with wide still eyes 
Looked back upon the death whose certainty 
They hardly had eluded.. While* their loved 
And loving ones shrieked, with extended arms, 
To them for succour — while it seemed that heaven 
Could not now save them." Every buoyant thing 
From off those decks now rides upon the wave, 
Each freighted with a life ; and God alone 
Can see the sharp and varied agonies 
Of those half-frantic souls, that cling to life, 
Even on the icy bosom of Despair — 
Or those that still remain upon the wreck. 



Yet even here, amid these fearful scenes, 
Peace lay beneath the brooding wing of death. 
Ay, even here was peace, the peace of God, 
Which nature seeks in vain to comprehend ; 
It passes understanding, and pervades 
The humble souls which glow with love divine. 

Yes, in that vessel were some humble souls, 
To whom death came in angel loveliness, — 
A messenger of mercy. Staid and calm 
Their hearts were beating, and their eyes were raised, 



THE SHIPWRECK. 141 

With holy hope and confidence, toward heaven. 

" Thy will be done," they murmured, — while a yell 

Of deep fierce agony swelled madly up, 

As closed the waters o'er that peopled ship, 

And down ! down ! down ! it sunk, to the dark bed 

Of the hoarse moaning waves. 

The scene is closed. — 
The winds, and sea, and sky, are still and bright, 
And nature looks all glorious, as the morn 
Comes gladly forth, as if no heart was cold, 
No spirit broken, no bright eye sealed up 
In ever-during darkness, — none consigned 
To wet and weary watching for the form 
It never more will rest on. These shall mourn 
As if nor light nor joy remained on earth; 
Yet nature, with her melody and bloom, 
Shall hold her course rejoicing, no more moved 
That this proud ship is lost, than if a swarm 
Of painted insects had been swept away 
By chilly night-winds. 

Even the mourners' hearts — 
Ay, these will cease to throb. Oh, earth ! Oh, life ! 
Who could endure your ills, your bitter pangs, 
Your heartless apathy and fickleness, 
With the eternal shipwreck of your hopes, 
But for the steady light of Faith, which beams 
Upon the Holy Page, reflecting thence 
Hope, peace, and consolation, which no gloom 
Amongst the shadows of this opaque earth 
Can ever quench ! Oh ! not the cloud that lies 
O'er death's lone valley, or the fearful shade 
That wraps the impenetrable eve of Time, 



142 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

And hides the dayspring of Eternity, 
Can cloud the beam of Faith. Oh ! gloriously 
'Twill light the spirit, in the dreadful wreck 
Of this stupendous ship — the peopled earth. 



TO A BROKEN TULIP. 

It is not for thee that I weep, 
Thou beautiful perishing flower, 
Though I've watched thy bright bud, since I first saw it 
peep, 
The loveliest gem in my bower. 
It is not for thee that I mourn, 

Though spoilers have broken thy stem, 
And crushed on the earth the rich robes thou hast worn, 
And trampled thy bright diadem. 

But thou, my poor perishing flower, 
With treasures of dying perfume, 
Hast gathered around, with a magical power, 

The memories that dwell in the tomb. 
Their voices are sweet to mine ear, 
Though sad as the dove's dying moan, 
Their hands and their eyes are surpassingly dear, 
And bright lips that whisper " My own." 

I seek with a thrill of delight 

To clasp the dear shades to my heart, 
Then with eyes dim and closed, cheeks and lips cold 
and white, 
In coffins and shrouds, they depart. 



TO A BROKEN TULIP. 143 

I clasp my hands then, and I weep — 
As I wept when we parted at first, — 
When the dear ones went down to the long lonely sleep, 
And anthems pealed forth — Dust to dust! 

Alas ! for his pitiless powers, 

Whose palace of state is the tomb ; 
Who breaks down the dearest, and loveliest flowers, 4 * 
And gathers them into the gloom. 
'Tis piteous to see the young head 

Bow down, when life's stamen is broke ; 
'Tis mournful to breathe the sweet incense they shed, 

As meekly they yield to the stroke. 



But lo ! a bright Conqueror stands 
Amid the rapt seraphs above ; 
And sweet buds and blossoms,, in beautiful bands, 
Rejoice in the light of his love. 
He hath rifled the palace of death, — 

He hath borne the pale flowers from the gloom ; 
They live in his presence, a beautiful wreath, 
Immortal in fragrance and bloom. 



THE ANGEL OF THE PAST. 

When fainting in life's desert way, 

The weary heart sits down to rest, 
Afflicted, wrung, "and desolate, * 

With bitter ills oppressed ; 
When cold chill mildews of despair 

Upon the lonely spirit creep ; 
When Hope forgets her ministry, 

And turns away to weep ; 

The pale sweet Angel of the Past, 

With dewy eye, and drooping mien, 
Comes o'er the naked wild to cast 

Her tableau vivant scene. 
Grouped by her Witch-of-Endor hand, 

They come, a fair and smiling train, 
From every bright and pleasant land 

Through which our path has lain. 

Memories from Friendship's blessed vale, 
Proffer again the dear caress ; 

But in the background stand Deceit, 
Or cold For^etfuness. 



THE ANGEL OF THE PAST. 145 

Shadows from Love's delightful bowers, 
With red-rose wreaths and golden lyres, 

Present their precious offerings, 
And touch their altar fires. 

But Sorrow, with her sable-train, 

The coffin, shroud, and rigid clay, 
Pass slow before the joyous group ; — 

We groan, and turn away. 
Thus gather all the hopes and joys, 

That dazzled and deceived our youth ; 
But now upon them, cold and clear, 

Lies the stern light of Truth. 

At length appears a radiant train, — 

Memories of childhood pure and sweet ; 
On brow and breast there is no stain, 

No soil upon their feet. 
They seek no wealth beyond the flowers 

That live beside the valley brook ; 
That on the mountain make their bowers, 

Or in some rocky nook. 

They ask no joys, but such as live 

In love around a father's hearth ; 
They worship only God in heaven, 

And mother upon earth. 
Their gentle voices are more sweet 

Than softest songs of summer birds ; 
And flattery, sorrow, and deceit 

Are never in their words. 
13 



TO THE MEMORY OF T. W. WHITE, 

LATE EDITOR OF THE SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER. 

And has the Southern Muse no votive wreath 
To lay upon thy tomb ? No pensive lyre, 

A living requiem to thy name to breathe, 

Long as the winds of heaven shall wake the wire ? 

Shall Southern genius build for thee no tomb 
From her rich treasury of native gems I 

Shall Southern kindness braid no funeral crown, 
From her rich wilderness of flow'ring stems ? 

Oh, ardent friend and lover of the Muse ? 

Generous embalmer of her native lay, 
Thou, who didst never falter or refuse 

To aid young Genius in her upward way ! 

Thou of the kindly heart, the generous breast, 
The spirit willing every wo to share ; 

The grass is green above thy place of rest, 
And none has laid a grateful offering there ! 

The Muse thou fosteredst, could she weave no lay, 
To drape with honour thy. last resting-place? 

The land thou lovedst, could she bring no bay 
Of evergreen and tear-gemmed memories ? 



THE DYING SOLDIER. 147 

I never heard thy voice, or saw thy face, 

But I have proved thy friendship ; and my hand 

Has wreathed these pale flowers of the wilderness, 
With living laurel of this Northern land ; 

And I have brought my offering, with its dew, 
From the deep fountain of a stricken heart ; 

To which thy warm and generous nature knew 
The holy balm of friendship to impart. 

Oh, let my tribute lie above thy breast ; — 

Could thy cold heart but feel the balmy flowers ! — 

Far holier garlands in the Land of Rest 

Shed round thy spirit now their blissful powers. 



THE DYING SOLDIER. 

Night gathers slowly round me ; the long night 
Of darkness and of death. Within mine eye 

The light of life is fading, as the day 

Is slowly melting from the darkening sky. 

See, from the wood that borders this foul plain, 
Creep slowly forth the shadows ; night is there, 

And her dim hosts march slowly — slowly on, — 
So silently — Oh, terrible they are ! 

All forms of darkness, doubt, and mystery. 
Sad, hideous, and fantastic, form that wreath 

Of cold black horror. Oh, I feel it now ! 

It stifles my warm soul, — it cramps my breath; 



148 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

The red blood flows no longer from my wound, — 
I feel the warm tide trickle down no more ; 

There is no pain, but oh, an iciness, 
A horrid stiff'ning of the curdling gore, 

More terrible than all the agonies 

That have convulsed me since I weltered here ; 
It is not ease or sleep. Oh, Death ! thou soul 

Of darkness — thou embodiment of fear — 

How nature doth abhor thy cold embrace, 

And cling to life's warm bosom. Life ! oh, life ! 

Though thou art passion, weariness, and pain, 
We cling to thee with agonizing strife. 

I would prolong thy parting bitterness ; 

'. I gasp to taste once more thy warm sweet breath ; 

But icy daggers pierce my vitals through, — 

My brain grows torpid with the weight of death. 

Yet I shall live for ever in the light 

Of my proud country's glory ! and my grave 

Shall be a holy altar, where the free 

Shall celebrate the worship of the brave. 

And this is death in glory ! with the wreath 
Of victory's laurel fresh upon my brow ; 

Oh, ardently I sought for such a death ; 

Life ! life! — oh for thy humblest station now ! 

Oh, for the blessings I have thrown away, — 
Warm being, with its pulses of delight, 

Its tendrils of delicious sympathy, 

Embracing all the beautiful and bright. 



THE DYING SOLDIER. 149 

Its clinging thrilling loves. Oh, Geraldine, 
The blissful bands that hold thee to my heart, 

Now shivering with intensest agony 
Of painful tension, cannot, cannot part. 

Death hath no power to rend those holy ties ; 

The bonds of our communion must remain, 
To change the blessed intercourse of bliss 

Which has been ours, to cold and lingering pain. 

Our hearts are wedded, and for ever more 
Must nestle to each other. Wo to thine, 

Doomed in its young warm tenderness to bear 
The icy and death-stricken weight of mine. 

The mysteries of love are now revealed, 
The preciousness of life, the priceless worth 

Of its enjoyments. — Oh, for warmth, for light, 

For strength, once more to range the glorious earth ! 

Oh, for the hope of immortality, 

The humble Christian's hope of life to come ! 
Of friendship, love, and joy, all purified, 

And bound in wreaths of never-fading bloom. 

The veriest slave who feels that blessed hope, 
Hath life eternal flowing round his heart ; 

Round mine now closes black and crushing ice — 
Doubt, horror ! — Death ! oh, terrible thou art ! 
13* 



CALISTA. 

Yes, thou art gone down to the still, cold grave 

To hide thy broken heart. The dim-eyed world 

Says, that consumption drank the fountain dry 

Of thy young joyous life. Well, be it so ! 

That world would scoff, perhaps, % if it should know 

The hidden agony that burned away 

Thy spirit's silver spring, and left thy heart, 

Thy woman-heart, to waste by sure decay, 

Till, like a lily withered at the root, 

Thou droopedst to the earth. Consumption ! Ay, 

Came the destroyer ever unto her, 

Who wore within her heart no secret grief? 

Oh, woman, woman ! if thy history 

Were written by th' impartial pen of truth, 

The world would start away in dumb surprise 

From the revealings of the agonies 

Which thou hast borne in silence, while they gnawed 

Thy heart away, and fed upon thy brain 

Like fiery vipers, or consumed away 

Thy very soul within thee ! 

Thy young heart, 
My poor Calista, was an open book to me, 
From our glad childhood. Every throb, 
And wish, and feeling, pleaded unto me 
For sympathy and shelter ; and the doom 



CALISTA. 151 

That parted us in girlhood was like death. 

The paper missive passing to and fro, 

And burdened with the yearnings of the soul, 

Still formed a chain between us, but alas ! 

How cold is such communion to the hearts 

That long to give each other throb for throb 

In love's unchecked embrace ; while full deep eyes 

Pour forth the treasures of each ardent soul, 

In language that needs not the form of words, 

But is itself the eloquence of truth. 

Thy spirit was so formed for confidence, 

It could not live without a present friend, 

With whom it might commingle every tone 

Of its wild melody. And there was one 

Whose spirit seemed attuned to blend with thine 

Every harmonious tone. He seemed like thee, 

Pensive and pious, intellectual ; 

All poetry, and gentleness, and love. 

He called thee sister, and was unto thee 

All that the fondest brother could have been ; 

And thou didst lean on him confidingly, 

And listen to the dreamy sophistries 

Of " pure platonic love." Ah me, that dream 

Of passionless affection ! Many a heart 

Has trusted in it, and awoke too late, 

Pierced through with many sorrows. Earnestly 

I gave my warning. But the heart — the heart ! 

When did it list to reason ? 'tis so sweet 

To rest the heart in perfect confidence 

On one that feels and feeds its sympathies 

With fond devotion ; and to deem that flame, 

Burning in earthen censers, high and pure 

As the devotion of the raptured love 



152 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

That wreaths its incense in the spirit-land. 

Such love is pure, but 'neath its placid tide — 

Ah, poor humanity ! — a current runs, 

Silent and strong, which the heart recks not of, 

Till it is undermined, and borne away 

Wrecked and undone for ever. So it was 

With thee, Calista. Placid were thy dreams 

As the sweet bird's, who sings herself to sleep, 

Where trembling radiance of the evening star 

Illumes the pinions of the summer winds, 

That kiss the fragrant flowers and rock her nest. 

As breaks upon the slumber of that bird 

The voice of the tornado, as he bends 

His black breast on the forest, with a crash 

That makes earth shudder, while his sounding wings 

Strike the strong trees to splinters, as aghast, 

Wounded and helpless, reft and desolate, 

She nutters to the earth in agony, — 

So to Calista came from Henry's lips 

The words — " Hove — not with a brother's love; 

But passionately, with a burning heart, 

One whom I long have known, who will be mine 

In wedlock's holy bondage. A few days, 

And I will bring a sister to your arms, 

And we shall be so happy." 

So it was — 
Here was the secret of the holy love, 
The placid tenderness, the platonism, 
That bound him to Calista. His young heart, 
With its wild flood of passion, had been given 
Unto another ere he saw her face ; 
And she had been to him a sweet relief 
To absence, doubt, and sorrow, while her heart 



CALISTA. 153 

And soul, and being, mingled into his, 

With holy worship of a maiden's love, 

Guiltless of passion, till that fatal word, 

" I love another," opened to her view 

The deep springs of her heart. She could have lived 

For ever happy in her gentle dream 

Of pure fraternal love, if Henry's heart 

Had owned no other. But to hear "him say, 

" Rejoice, sweet spirit-sister ! for the maid 

Whom I have loved so many weary years 

With passionate devotion, is mine own." 

Oh, 'twas too deadly bitter to her soul ! 

Yet still she smiled — that smile which woman's pride 

Throws o'er the ruin of a broken heart, 

Like sunlight flitting o'er a sepulchre. 

0[ what could she complain ? He was not false ; 
He never sought the love that she had given ; — 
So in the deep recesses of her soul, 
She hid her shame and sorrow, and stood by, 
While to another he pledged earnestly 
All that she valued or desired on earth. 
But from that day she drooped, fading away 
Like summer twilight, which goes sweetly out, 
With dying melody and closing flowers, 
Into the world of sleep. 

Around her bier 
The weepers stood, and chided at the fate 
Which gave so lovely and beloved a maid 
To pitiless consumption. 



JESUS, FRIEND OF SINNERS ! 

Jesus, friend of sinners ! see in adoration 
Low at thy footstool I bend down before thee, 
Praising thy mercy for the blest permission 
TJius to adore thee. 

Jesus, friend of sinners ! give me grace to offer 
Such an oblation as thou canst approve of, 
Even my fervent penitent affections, 

Laid on thine altar. 

Jesus, friend of sinners ! 'grave upon my spirit, 
While I bow down imploringly before thee, 
That the unholy cannot look upon thee, 

Throned in thy mercy. 

Jesus, friend of sinners ! let me not approach thee 
Hiding my sins like nestlings in my bosom, 
Crying for mercy, while I feel their writhings 
Torture my spirit. 

Jesus, friend of sinners ! take away my idols ; 
Help me to look upon them with abhorrence, 
Then pour in mercy on my bleeding bosom, 
Thy consolation. 



TO THE BANNER OF THE CROSS. 155 

Jesus, friend of sinners ! keep me ever near thee ; 
Save me from sin, the source of keenest sorrows j 
Grant me the peace that passes understanding, 
Now and for ever. 



TO THE BANNER OF THE CROSS. 

Ay, lift the banner high, 

And let it stream afar ; 
While on it rests the radiancy 

Of Bethlehem's holy star. 

Embroider on its field 

u The Spirit's peaceful Dove," 
Defended by the ample shield 

Of perfect fervent Love. 

Upon its border write 

" Holiness to the Lord !" 
While all its folds, in lines of light 

Display his written word. 

Ay, raise the banner high, 
The Banner of the Cross ! 

Beneath which, earth is vanity, 
And all its treasures dross. 

March on, from sea to sea, 
And o'er the isle-set wave, 

Till all the human family 

Know Him, who came to save ! — 



156 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Till every spirit feels 
Devotion's sacred flame, 

Till every living creature kneels 
To our Redeemer's name ; 

Till heedless of earth's fame, 
Her avarice and her pride, 

We glory but in Jesus' name, 
In Christ, the crucified. 

Then lift his banner high, 

And pray, thy kingdom come ; 

'Tis crowned with joy and victory, 
He leads his" armies home. 



THE HUNTER. 

The weary hunter paused upon the hill 

What time the sun lay smiling in the west ; 

The winds were sleeping, and the mountain rill 
Seemed lingering in the silent bowers to rest. 

He doffed his cap, and wiped his sunburnt brow, 
Leaned on his gun, and scanned the scene around ; 

His noble dog approached him, crouching low, 
And lay down wearily upon the ground. 

'Twas autumn, and the forests were arrayed 
In kingly costume, purple and bright gold ; 

While here and there, a deep green cluster stayed, 
And lingering flowers their fragrant silks unrolled. 



THE HUNTER. 157 

Ripe nuts were strewn profusely on the ground, 
Tall trees were bending 'neath the clustered vine, 

Even rugged rocks with berried garlands crowned, 
Could boast their blessing from the hand Divine. 

The hunter looked to heaven with humid eye, 
Then sat him down upon the mountain's brow, 

And gazed, with drooping mien and many a sigh, 
Upon the pleasant vale that lay below. 

"Twelve years!" — he said at length — "oh! what a 
change 

Twelve years have wrought in this soft vale and me ; 
The very spot I called my own is strange, — 

I look in vain e'en for my favourite tree. 

" Oh, happy were the seasons when I roved 

A careless boy along that river's side ; 
And happier far, when with the maid I loved, 

I watched the moonlight trembling on the tide ; 

"Or marked young love's pure spirit on her face, 

Weaving his rosy garland of delight, 
Where neither grief or care had left a trace, 

Or crossed one joy-beam with the shade of night. 

" There stands the noble elm that threw its shade 

So many summers at my father's door ; 
Its limbs are broken now, its heart decayed, 

And the green foliage crowns its head no more. 

" And she who loved me with a mother's love, 
Who 'neath that elm-tree sung her lullaby, 

From that loved home, long since compelled to rove, 
I saw her in a land of strangers die. 
14 



158 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

" Those black and crumbling ruins mark the spot 
Of my own household hearth, my blessed home 

Of treasures that can never be forgot, 
While in the wilderness of life I roam. 

" There's happiness in that rich valley now, 

And glad hearts cluster round each household stone, 

While I, a lone thing on the mountain's brow, 
Have neither house or hearth to call my own. 

" Oh, desolation ! how thine icy seal 

Lies like a leaden tomb upon my breast, 

Crushing a heart, no balm can soothe or heal ; 
Wearing a spirit that- can never rest." 

He paused, and bowed his face upon his knee, 

And his clasped hands dropped listless from his brow, 

While big tears fell so slow and silently, 
As from the fountain of a deep-felt wo. 

Poor Ponto, wondering why his master grieves-, 
Licks kindly from his hand the falling tears ; — 

Hark ! There's a distant rustle of the leaves, 
The dog starts forward, and erects his ears. 

The practised hunter soon detects the sound, 
And his keen eye is watching for the game, 

When from the cover of a verdant mound, 
Amid the clustering greens, an object came. 

He raised his trusty rifle to his eye, — 

A spotted fawn appears; the hills resound ; 

What means that wild and agonizing cry? 
A human creature has received the wound. 






THE HUNTER. 159 

With terror wild he hastened to the place, 
And there, apparently in death, was laid 

A young and lovely girl of Indian race, 
In fawnskin mantle tastefully arrayed. 

He stooped to aid her, but she shrank away, 

And shrieked and struggled with intense alarms, 

Till, overcome with fear and agony, 

She hid her face, and fainted in his arms. 

81 Oh, I have murdered her !" the hunter said, 
As o'er his arm her head drooped languidly ; 

And her rough mantle, falling back, displayed 
Her arms and bosom, white as ivory. 

Rich curls of bright brown hair were clustered round 
Her polished shoulder, where the warm red blood 

Was leaping from a wide and rugged wound, 
Like the impetuous gushing of a flood. 

He probed its depth, and his despairing heart 
Leaped up, as hope awoke amid his fears ; 

The girl revived, as he essayed his art 

To staunch her blood and soothe away her fears. 

And like the captured fawn, that artless maid 

Soon ceased to fear her captor, spoke and smiled, 

And poured her thanks for his assiduous aid, 
With all the simple fervour of a child. 

84 Thy heart is like the red man's heart," she said ,* 
88 It melts with pity for a helpless maid, 



160 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

So when the warriors of my people bled, 
The tomahawk above my brow was stayed ; 

" And Wonah bore me in his arms away 

To the bright border of the silver lake ; 
And I was happy there, oh, many a day, — 

Yet sometimes then my little heart would ache, 

11 With misty memories of a lovely vale, 
And tall flowers clustering on a river's side, 

Fair fruit-trees bending to the fragrant gale, 

And cultured fields, and meadows smooth and wide; 

" And of a dwelling, where a gentle one, 

With soft blue eyes, smiled ever on my play, 
And soothed my sorrow with such balmy tone, 
*. Who nursed, and watched, and taught me, night and 
day; 

" And of a scene of tumult, blood, and fire, 

A hideous mingling of shouts, shrieks, and groans ; 

I saw my dear and gentle nurse expire, 

And heard my name amid her latest moans. 

" Then I was borne away." The maiden ceased, 
The hunter's hand had clutched with sudden clasp 

A bracelet, which her perfect arm embraced, — 
Gazed on it, and sunk back with deathlike gasp. 

Alarmed, she raised his head upon her knee, 
And warm tears fell like rain-drops on his brow, 

A trembling hope, which panted fearfully, 
Was waking in her heaving bosom now. 



THE HUNTER. 161 

" My child ! my own sweet child !" the hunter cried. 

" Oh, God be praised, that thou art spared to me ! 
His Providence has been thy guard and guide, 

For he alone could have protected thee. 

" How cam'st thou hither, angel of my life, 
To meet thy wandering father, who has come 

To weep above the ashes of his wife, 
And mourn above his desolated home ?" 

" Father ! I could not wed the Indian chief, 

Though he has been my brother, kind and true ; 

I could not bear to see his bitter grief; 

I fled, and God directed me to you." 

II And blessed be his name. By yon fair flood," 

The hunter said, " I'll build my bower again, 
Plant my young rose-tree, where her mother stood, 
And in its balmy shade forget my pain. 

" Ah, little thought I, when love's diadem 
Was torn by savage warriors from my brow, 

That their rough hands had saved the precious gem 
Which sheds such blessed radiance o'er me now." 



14* 



TO ANNA 



Shall that light heart, that bounds to joy, 

Be ever sad and dreary ? 
And can that brilliant, laughing eye, 

Be downcast, wet, and weary ? 
Oh, can the hopes that swell thy breast, 

Be wholly wrecked and broken? 
And shalt thou seek in vain for rest, 

Where words of peace are spoken ? 

Ah ! shall thy brilliant beauty be 

Like some poor broken flower, 
That droops its fair head piteously 

Beneath the driving shower ? 
Alas ! that such should be thy doom, 

And none to sorrow o'er thee ! 
Yet many a bright and fragrant bloom 

Has died unwept before thee. 

Oh, who would rob us of the faith 

That smooths the path of sorrow, 
And cheers the night of pain or death 

With promise of to-morrow? 
Oh, wring my soul, or wreck my peace, 

Or make me broken-hearted ; 
But leave untouched my hopes of bliss, 

When life's frail strings are parted. 



THE HOUR OF PRAYER. 

'Tis now the hour of prayer, — 

The world is still and calm, 
And all the trembling air 

Is like a cloud of balm ; 
From valley, plain, and hill, 

No busy voices come ; 
The flocks and herds are still, 

The labourer is at home. 

The moon in holy light 

Walks down the spangled sky, 
The dewy leaves are bright 

Beneath her radiant eye; 
The birds, that all the day 

Made field and forest ring, 
Sleep each upon his spray, 

With head beneath the wing. 

Even childhood's voice of joy 

Is bound in sweet control, 
And dreams of bliss employ 

The young and harmless soul. 
No sound is on the air, 

To tempt the mind astray ; — 
In such an hour of prayer 

How sweet it is to pray ! 



164 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

No thoughts of sorrow now 

Exert their dark control ; 
The moon shines on the brow, 

And peace is in the soul ; 
No weight is on the mind, 

In this sweet hour of prayer ; 
The world is left behind, 

With all its chains of care. 

How blessed now to kneel 

All humbly on the sod ; 
To look to heaven and feel 

The presence of our God ; 
To feel the spirit melt 

With love's redeeming ray, 
From Him who often knelt 

In night's calm hour to pray ;- 

To feel the Spirit of grace, 

With soft mysterious sway, 
Shed o'er the soul that peace, 

Which nought can take away. 
Oh ! sweet indeed it were, 

With such communion blest, 
At this calm hour of prayer 

To pass to endless rest. 



WINTER. 

The Winter has come from the dark wild caves 
In the barren hills of the dreary North, 

Where the sea lies bound in his frozen waves, 
And the snows of eternity shroud the earth. 

Realms that the sunlight has never seen, 
Where brood the pinions of endless night, 

Save where the borealean sheen 

Waves her wild banners of lurid night. 

Where the ice with the snow-drifts form the bowers, 
Where the weary- winged tempests retire to sleep, 

And the hoar frost spangles the waste with flowers, 
Fairer than any where night dews weep. 

There Winter asserts his eternal reign, 
In the terrible gloom, for his spirit meet ; 

And hither he sends on a long campaign 
His forces of hurricane, snow, and sleet. 

The Summer has fled to the land of flowers, 

Where the verdure is budding the whole year long ; 

And the sweet birds live in the changeless bowers, 
And carol an everlasting song ; — 



166 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Where the blossoms are heavy with honey dew, 
And the fruits with their nectar juices swell ; 

Where Plenty and Beauty profusely strew 
Their richest of gifts, like a magic spell ; — 

The Zephyrs have gone to that land of love, 

With the hues and the scents of our leaves and 
flowers ; 

The beautiful birds of our summer groves 

Are resting their wings in those blessed bowers. 

All desolate now is the field and wood, 

Late glowing with beauty, and voiced with love, 

And Winter has prisoned the hymning flood, 
Spread snow-drifts around us, and clouds above. 

Oh ! for the joys of our summer hours, 

When the earth was all fair, and the sky serene, 

When pleasures were sporting in balmy bowers, 
Like butterflies spangling a fairy scene. 

Oh ! for the days that will come no more, 
The days of summer, of song, and glee, 

When sunlight gladdened the sea and shore, 
And lay in its brightness on you and me. 

Oh ! is there no South, where the light of peace 
And summer of happiness may endure ; 

No land, where the beauty so brief in this, 
May bloom to eternity fair and pure ? 

Yes, there is a country where living streams 
Through bowers of blessedness ever glide, 



SPRING. 167 

Where love may embody its holiest dreams, 
And beauty immortal and bliss abide. 

Then why, in the winter of pain and wo, 
Cling wailing around the pale buds of time, 

When even the sparrow and wild-dove know 
The way to a beautiful summer clime ? 



SPRING. 



" Earth breaks forth into singing ;" for the Spring, 

So like an infant with its angel smile, 

Reclines upon her bosom, and the sun 

Looks lovingly upon her, and his gifts 

Of joy and beauty deck her gloriously. 

Behold the bright green mantle, rich with flowers 

Of every form and hue, which he has thrown 

So bounteously around her ! — See the plumes 

Of leafy beauty, of a thousand shades, 

Red, brown, and yellow, mingled here and there 

With silvery clusters of the trembling asp, 

All merging to the pale and tender green 

Of the advancing foliage of the Spring ! 

The diamond waters sparkle in rich chains 

Upon her bosom, mingling with her wreaths ; 

And music, from a thousand living bells, 

Gushing in chorus to the sacred song 

Which winds and waters chaunt continually 

To Him who gave them voices. 

Look abroad ! — 
All life is full of gladness. See the sports 



168 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Of the young innocents ! — Behold the joy 

Of fond maternal hearts, of speechless things, 

To which Spring brings the younglings ! Beautiful, 

And sweet, and thankful ; full of songs and bliss 

The wide earth seemeth now. The placid heaven 

Bends over, as if gazing with delight 

And listening joyously. Gracefully now 

The white cloud veils the azure, and bright drops 

From the dark fringe are falling, as if heaven 

Looked on the fair earth, as a mother looks 

Upon her happy children, with soft tears 

Upon her smiling beauty, as she feels 

That there must come a day when all this joy 

And tender beauty will have passed away. 

The air is gently flowing o'er the earth, 

Like living waves of melody and balm, 

Laving her gems of every splendid tint, 

Which give back every kiss, with incense sigh. 

Earth, air, and water — all is melody, 

And light, and balm, and beauty. 

How unlike 
The cold white drifts, dark clouds, and piercing winds 
That formed the train of Winter ! 

Who has wrought 
This glorious change ? Who sent the gentle Spring 
To wake and warm the silent frozen earth, 
And deck her thus in beauty ? Who attuned 
The wild bird's song of love 1 Who wove the flowers, 
And touched their wondrous texture with rich hues, 
As if the glorious arch o'er which the shower 
Pursues his sounding march, what time the sun 
Looks on the triumph of his streaming plumes, 
Had melted in the beam, and every gem 






SPRING. 169 

That glittered in the arch had found a home, 

A calm, sweet home of love, within the breast 

Of its own chosen blossom ? Who has brought 

From tomb and winding-sheet, in which the worm 

Lay powerless, sightless, senseless, seemingly 

Inanimate, these splendid butterflies, 

Which look as if their wings and velvet coats 

Were braided of the brightest tints of earth, 

Dipped in the radiance of the sunny heaven ? 

It is Jehovah ! — He who framed the earth, 

And all the worlds that fill infinity — 

Who wrought the mystery of the human mind, 

And gives it food for all its godlike powers, 

In this profusion of his glorious works, 

This treasury of beauty, melody, 

Fragrance, and glory, and intelligence, 

From man, in his perfection, to the least 

Of living things which float upon one ray 

Of the diffusive sunlight. 

Oh, it seems 
To fill the soul, and bring it near to God, 
In this soft springtime to observe his hand 
In each awakening blessing ; and to muse 
Upon that spring when we shall all awake, 
Changed, like the worms that burst their tombs, to float 
On wings of glory o'er the spring-clad earth, 
Upon the balmy breezes. Then shall death 
Be " swallowed up in victory." Then shall He 
Who walked the darkest pathway to the tomb, 
And wrenched away its black and massive bars, 
And burst its bonds asunder, call his own 
From out the shattered prison. 
15 



170 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Then shall rise 
A glorious Anthem of immortal songs, 
To Him who is the Sunlight of this Spring 
Of Everlasting Life. 



COME TO THE WOODS. 

Come to the woods in June, 

'Tis happiness to rove 
When Nature's lyres are all in tune, 

And life all full of love. 
Come, when the morning light, 

Advancing from afar, 
Veils, with a glory soft and bright, 

Her smiling favourite star. 
While from the dewy dells, 

And every wild-wood bower, 
A thousand little feathered bells 

Ring out the matin hour. 

Come, when the sun is high, 

And earth all full in bloom, 
W 7 hen every passing summer sigh 

Is languid with perfume ; — 
When by the mountain brook 

The watchful red-deer lies ; 
And spotted fawns, in mossy nook, 

Have closed their wild, bright eyes ;- 



COME TO THE WOODS. 171 

While from the giant tree, 

And fairy of the sod, 
A dreamy wind-harp melody 

Speaks to the soul of God, 
Whose beauteous gifts of love, 

The passing hours unfold, 
Till e'en the sombre hemlock boughs 

Are tipped with fringe of gold. 

Come, when the sun is set, 

And see along the west 
Heaven's glory, streaming through the gate 

By which he passed to rest. 
While brooklets, as they flow 

Beneath the cool sweet bowers, 
Sing fairy legends, soft and low, 

To groups of listening flowers ; 
And creeping formless shades 

Make distance strange and dim, 
And w T ith the daylight softly fades 

The wild bird's evening hymn. 

Come, when the woods are dark, 

And winds go fluttering by, 
While here and there a phantom bark 

Floats in the deep blue sky ; 
While gleaming far away 

Beyond th' aerial flood, 
Lies in its starry majesty 

The city of our God. 

Come to the dim path now, 
'Tis sweet to wander long, 



172 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

With spirit mingling in the flow 

Of lone Edoleo's song. 
No human heart is near, 

To give us sigh for sigh, 
But blending with the living air, 

Sweet spirits hover nigh. 
Softly they bid us kneel 

Upon the mossy sod, 
Then, smiling, draw aside the veil 

That shuts the soul from God. 

Come to the forest now, 
If thou art fair and gay, — 

Here are bright chaplets for thy brow, 
And songs of love all day. 

Come, if thy heart is lone, 

Here are pale wreaths for thee, 

Soft twilight, and the soothing tone 
Of nature's melody. 

Come, if thy soul is wrung 
And feels the need of grace, 

Soft voices, the dark woods among, 
Say, God is in this place ! 



THE SISTER TO THE BRIDE. 

Sister ! my dear, my only one ! 

And has the moment come, 
In which thou for a stranger's love 

Wilt leave thine early home ? 
Ah, sister, in this home of thine 

There lives a fount of love, 
So deep, so pure, thou canst not hope 

Its like on earth to prove. 

A mother's and a sister's love, — 

Ah, thou may'st seek in vain 
To find in this cold selfish world 

Such holy love again. 
Man cannot love as woman loves, 

His stern and haughty soul 
Knows not the gentle sympathies, 

And spurns e'en love's control. 

There is in man a principle 

Which ever seeks its own ; 
Unselfish love has made its nest 

In woman's heart alone. 
Could he be blessed without her love, 

Her tenderness and care, 
She might appeal to him in vain, 

However fond or fair. 
15* 



174 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

My sister, thou must henceforth make 

Thy husband's will thy bliss, 
Nor hope for happiness or peace, 

Or honour, but in his. 
My words are truth ; though haply he 

To whom thy heart is given 
Has taught thee to expect with him 

The happiness of heaven. 

Alas ! for such as hope to find 

A Paradise below, 
Where e'en the sweetest, fairest flowers 

On thorny branches grow. 
Where e'en if heaven should ever smile 

O'er flowers of deathless bloom, 
Ourselves must change, and pale, and fade, 

And ripen for the tomb. 

While cruel fiends are ever near 

To steal or blight our joy, 
Where strong disease and death will come, 

Our treasures to destroy. 
This life, with all its tinsel joys, 

Is but a weary round, 
In which no bright and holy spot 

Save childhood's home is found. 

Yet, sister, there's a talisman, 
Which, worn within thy breast, 

Will keep thy spirit calm and pure, 
And give thee peace and rest. 

'Tis meek Religion's precious gift ; 
Oh, be the treasure thine ; 



THE SISTER TO THE BRIDE. 175 

All other lustres time may dim, — 
This hath a light divine. 

With chastened hopes and pure desires, 

To God supremely given, 
This world is beautiful, and love 

A bliss allied to heaven. 
Go forth, then, in thy bridal joy, 

I would not have thee sad ; 
Hope whispers that thy life shall be 

Contented, bright, and glad. 

Go forth, and be thy happiness 

Calm, rational, and deep ; 
I would not thou shouldst ever think 

Oif girlhood's home and weep. 
Yet, sister, I am sorrowful, 

My heart is lone and drear ; 
Thine absence is a darkened spot 

On all the bright things here. 

All grief will wear a darker hue, 

No longer shared by thee, 
And every sorrow, every pain, 

Be heavier far to me. 
Yet, sister, go, as from the sky 

Departs the smiling sun, 
Which, though it leaves us cold and dark, 

Speeds brightly, gladly on. 



THE PITCHER-PLANT. 

The song-bird came, with weary wing, 
From breezy blossomed groves, 

Where fountains flow, and blossoms spring, 
And happy creatures rove. 

AH heedlessly the wild thing strayed 

Along the desert plain, 
And sought the fruit, the breezy shade, 

And cooling stream in vain. 

His little throat grew swollen and dry, 

His voice was faint and low, 
And dim and heavy grew his eye 

In day's meridian glow. 

With drooping plumes he fluttered round ; 

No kind relief was nigh ; 
He dropped exhausted on the ground, 

And closed his wings to die ; 

But near him, on the burning waste, 

In lonely beauty grew, 
A plant with pearly blossoms graced, 

Which lived upon the dew. 



THE PITCHER-PLANT. 177 

With quivering form and panting breath, 

He crept beneath the shade ; 
And there upon the naked earth 

His little head was laid. 

Above him drooped the slender boughs, 

With humble blossoms hung ; 
Oh, how unlike the rich red rose 

His native bowers among ! 

Ah, sadly beautiful they come 

Before his closing eyes, 
Shades of his dear deserted home, 

Where living fountains rise. 

But hark ! a wandering zephyr shakes 

The plant 'neath which he lies, 
And on his ear a murmur breaks, — 

" Rise, weary wanderer, rise !" 

Then trembling o'er his aching head, 

Low drooped the blossomed bough, 
And clear and cooling drops were shed 

Upon his burning brow. 

It was the Pitcher-Plant that grew 

Above his desert bed, 
And grateful was the shower of dew, 

Its generous blossoms shed. 

He rose, he drank, he dressed his wings, 

And smoothed his ruffled plumes ; 
And soon, with grateful carollings, 

His onward flight resumes. 



178 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

But still around that lonely tree 

The breezy angel stayed, 
And thus, in balmy tones, to me 

The desert blessing said : 

61 Art thou a wanderer from the bowers 

Of beauty, love> and truth, 
Where songs, and dews, and balmy flowers, 

Were clustered round thy youth ? 

" And hast thou found life's onward way 

A desert, dry and drear? 
Where no sweet streams of blessing stray, 

No fruits or flowers appear ? 

" And art thou weary, sad, and faint, 

And dost thou wish to die ? 
Look up ! there is a Pitcher-Plant, 

With consolation nigh. 

" Look up ! it offers unto thee 

The dew of holy love; 
Accept the gift, 'tis pure and free, 

A treasure from above. 

" Drink, and rejoice beneath the shade, 
And plume thy drooping wing ; 

Then journey where thy path is laid 
Toward the Living Spring. 

" Ay, onward to the verdant shore, 
With songs, pursue thy way ; 

That blessed home, whence never more 
The bird shall wish to stray." 



FORGOTTEN. 

Forgotten ! 'Tis a cold and fearful word, 
And sends a thrill of anguish through the heart, 
That there will come a day in which our face, 
Our voice, our deeds, our love, our very name, 
Will be forgotten. When the beaming eyes 
That greet us now will all be dark in death ; — 
When souls that now respond to all our words, 
As the iEolian answers to the wind, 
Shall have forgotten the familiar tone ; — 
When those for whom we now act zealously, 
Shall need our aid no more, and think no more 
Of all that we did for them ; — when no trace 
Or footprint shall remain to tell of us, 
Around the spot where now we toil and rest, 
The spot we fondly call our pleasant home ; — 
When of the hearts that throb reply to ours, 
And deem our love the treasure of their lives, 
Not one shall be remaining ; — when the name 
To which we answer, though it may be known, 
And call reply from thousands, shall awake 
In no one heart on earth a thought of us ; 
That of the busy hundreds who will throng 
The city or the country where we dwelt, 
Not one will think of us ; and that of those 



180 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Who haply occupy the very house 
That we have builded, eat the ripened fruit 
From off the trees we planted, draw and drink 
Cool water from the well that we have dug, 
And bless the habitation, the broad tree, 
And living water, none will know or care 
To whom they are indebted. 

Thoughts like these 
Lie cold and heavy on the shuddering heart, 
What time the shadows of this lower world 
Shut from its hemisphere the light of heaven. 
To die, to be incorporate — this fair form 
Dissolved and mingled with the elements 
Of which it is so wondrously composed, 
Till even the grave itself retains no trace 
Of that which weeping love deposited 
Within its sacred bosom. Nature shrinks 
From such a terrible nonentity, 
And thinks to bribe a nation's gratitude — 
To win the admiration of the world — 
To add a plume to honour's coronet — 
To fix its features on the plastic heart 
Of fond enduring love, that some of these 
May write its name upon the corner-stone 
Of Memory's sacred temple, on the rock 
O'er which oblivion's dark and silent sea 
Has never heaved its billows. Vain device ! 
What boots it that a name shall be preserved, 
When we ourself, our face, our voice, our love, 
Shall be remembered by no living thing ! 

The heart hath built a refuge for itself, 
From thoughts so full of sadness. It hath reared 



FORGOTTEN. 181 

A temple of the bright but withered buds 
Of human tenderness ; in which young Hope 
Sits, ever singing to her golden lyre : — 

Love liveth ever, 

Time's shore beyond ; 
Death cannot sever 

Love's beautiful bond. 
Love is a spirit, 

Immortally bright ; 
Love must inherit 

Eternal delight. 

Truth is undying, 

Love is the truth ; 
Fondly relying 

In bosom of youth ; 
Rich rapture bringing 

All through life's day, 
Faithfully clinging 

In age or decay. 

Love is a treasure, 

Filling the soul ; 
Love hath no measure, 

Owns no control ; 
Nobly it shieldeth, 

Guardeth its own ; 
Love never yieldeth 

Its idolized one. 






When death is nearest, 
Love's spirit-light, 
16 



182 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Strongest and clearest, 
Beams on the night ; 

Love is immortal, — 
O'er his bright chain 

Death's heavy portal 
Closeth in vain. 

Still the tie bindeth, 

Strong and unriven, 
Till the soul findeth 

The lost one in heaven. 
Look ye to heaven, 

Heaven is Love's home ; 
There never riven, 

His garlands shall bloom. 

-. Thus hope consoleth hearts that weep or bleed 
O'er broken ties, in desolated bowers, 
With beautiful delusion that the loves 
Of earth are holy, and survive in heaven, 
Where love hath but one altar, one pure fire, 
And God is " all in all." Oh, blessed dream ! 
It lies so soothingly upon the soul ! 
And we go down so calmly to the grave, 
Trusting so earnestly that human love 
Will wear us in its bosom evermore. 
'Tis sweet to rest us on a chosen breast, 
And listen to the pulsing heart within, 
While tender accents win us to believe 
That every throb is warm with love for us, 
And must be always so. Ah, fond, fond heart ! 
Such trust is sweet ; oh, wrap it in strong faith, 
And lock it in thine inmost sanctuarv, 



FORGOTTEN. 183 

Where doubt may never find it — where distrust 

Can never enter, or experience come 

To leave her naked footprints — where the winds 

That walk the world and converse with mankind 

May find no ingress. In such holy place 

Thou mayst preserve it, and with earnest soul 

Pay adoration to its holiness ; 

And it shall be a blessing to thy life, 

A joy, a beauty to thee all thy days ; 

And thou mayst die, believing that thy love 

Will live in one devoted tender heart, 

Until its latest throb. 

But if thy soul 
Hold converse with experience, it must learn 
That this poor fading, changing, dying heart, 
Hath no meet chamber for eternal things. 
The holiest tablet of its altar-piece 
Is of such frail material, that the waves 
Of Time, which break upon it evermore, 
Wear out whatever is inscribed thereon, 
E'en though the hand of Love hath graved it deep, 
With Sorrow's iron pen. There was a time 
When I believed in never-dying love ; 
But I have seen the end of love, as strong, 
As warm, as perfect, as has ever burned 
Within the heart of man. 

I had a friend, — 
An innocent and gentle-minded girl, 
With form, and face, and eye, and heart, and soul, 
As near perfection as 'tis possible 
For aught on earth to be. She was beloved, 
Ay, tenderly and well beloved by one, 
Of whom the wisest of the wise ones said, 



184 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

That he was worthy of her. They were wed, — 

Not merely linked by law, but as it seemed, 

Made one by the perfecting of a bond, 

Which some mysterious power of destiny, 

Had braided of all tender sympathies 

Around their hearts, which nestled each to each, 

And felt, and throbbed as one. 

Oft as I marked 
How like a flash of the electric fire, 
A thrill of feeling waking in one heart 
Passed through the other, — how each beaming face 
Was but the other's mirror, faithfully 
Reflecting every change of light or shade 
That shadow joy or sorrow ; — as I marked 
This perfect oneness, I believed and said, 
Change cannot come between them, or the pow'r 
Of death itsell divide hearts so entwined, 
For surely one cannot be torn away, 
And leave one lifestring of the other whole. 
They had a child, — a treasure, a delight, 
A thing of life, and joy, and loveliness, 
A blending of their beings, heart and soul, 
A visible and everlasting tie, 
The tenderest and dearest link of love ; 
And their affections, sympathies, and hopes 
Seemed gathered in a love-knot in their boy. 

But Mary died. I saw her in her shroud, 
With death's seal set upon her. The fixed eyes 
Gleamed darkly from beneath the heavy fringe 
Of the half-open and discoloured lids. 
The lips w r ere livid, and the placid smile, 
Left by the happy spirit as it passed, 



FORGOTTEN. 185 

Like radiance left by the departing sun 

Upon the western clouds, was fading out 

From the unseemly company of death. 

The widowed husband sat beside the bier, 

In broken-hearted sorrow, with the child 

Close nestled to his bosom. I observed 

How pale, how very wretched he appeared, 

And thought, how soon that hapless little one 

Will be without a father, ail alone 

In this wide world, which mocks the desolate 

With clustered flowers and wreaths of kindred hearts, 

And clinging sympathies. 

Time sped along — 
The mourner lived, ay, lived for that sweet child, 
And kept the mem'ry of the dear departed fresh 
Within his heart and green around his home. 
Whatever she had loved or touched, remained 
A sacred treasure ; and the sodded grave 
In which she slept beside the garden wall, 
Was bright with garlands all the summer through. 
A weeping willow, trained with pious care, 
Was sighing there for ever, and the spot 
Was guarded from all sacrilegious feet 
By high strong paling — and no evening passed, 
That did not see the widower, with his child, 
Kneeling beside that grave. 

But I went forth, 
A wanderer o'er the world, and came again 
When scarce ten years had glided by. 

Oh, treacherous Time ! 
How dost thou change all things in this false world ! 
I passed along the once familiar street, 

16* 



186 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

And paused to look a moment on the home 

Of Mary living, and of Mary dead. 

Oh, what a change was there ! a stately front 

Concealed the cottage, where my friend had dwelt 

In such contented bliss. A columned porch 

Was built, where grew her favourite trees and flowers ; 

Her garden was included in the lawn 

That stretched before the mansion, and her grave 

Was overgrown with briers and flowers run wild, 

That mingled with the swaying willow-boughs. 

The fence was broken, and the little gate 

Lay almost prostrate, and the yellow rust 

Upon the hinges, proved that many a year 

It had remained unopened. 

While I gazed, 
A happy group approached along the lawn, 
A', gentleman and lady, with a band 
Of sportive children. Near that lonely grave, 
The lady paused, and in a mournful tone, 
Addressed a bright-haired boy — " Here, Theodore, 
Is your own mother's grave." And that boy smiled, 
As he replied — " I know it, dear mamma !" 
Then turning to her husband, she went on : 
" It makes me sad, to look on Mary's grave; — 
It wakes a thought that I, like her, may die, 
And be, like her, forgotten." 

" Dear Lenore !" 
The husband said, in half reproachful tones, 
" Dream not that you can ever be forgot ; 
You make us all so happy with your love, 
That we can find no moment for regret 
Or mournful memories. But, if that lone grave 
Awakes sad feelings in your gentle breast, 



MAR AH. 187 

It shall be newly fenced and beautified, 
And you may rear a monument of flowers, 
Meet emblems of your own sweet sympathies, 
Above the silent sleeper." 

Sick at heart, 
I turned away and wept. 

And yet 'tis well 
And wisely ordered that the wounds of wo 
Should cease to bleed, and that the blighted heart 
Should bud and bloom afresh. 'Tis wise and well ; 
But oh, it dissipates the bright romance 
Of Love's fond dreaming, with the clear cold truth, 
That even the good, the loving, and beloved, 
Before ten summers shine upon their graves, 
May be forgotten. 



MARAH. 



It was a fountain clear and deep, 

And grateful to the view ; 
Yet on its brink no fragrant shrubs 

Or balmy blossoms grew. 

A few rank weeds, with thorny stems, 

Were darkly tangled there, 
And threw their rank and baleful breath 

On summer's sultry air. 

The weary bird, with trembling wing, 

Alighted on the brink, 
Just dipped her beak, wailed mournfully, 

And died ; she could not drink. 



188 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

The thirsty traveller's burning gaze 

Upon that fountain fell, 
And gratefully he bent his knees 

Beside the limpid well, 

And stooped to drink — ha, bitterness ! 

How nauseous was the taste, 
He cursed the spring, and turned away, 

To perish on the waste. 

Yet was that fountain clear and cool, 
And tempting to the sight ; 

And mirrored in its bosom lay 
Heaven's own effulgent light. 

And murmuring forth a restless song, 

Its waters gushed away, 
And held a fitful wandering course, 

Like some glad child at play. 

But all along its winding course 
The earth was bare and dry, 

And shining fish, from other streams, 
But touched those waves — to die. 

A prophet of the mighty God 

Unto that fountain came, 
Threw into it a cruse of salt, 

And blessed it in God's name. 

Oh, what a change ! That bitter well 
Was filled with life and health, 

And sweet and pure its waters flowed, 
A living stream of wealth. 



MARAH. 189 

Soon clustering verdure crowned the banks, 

And on the balmy air 
Rich roses blended their perfume 

With breath of lilies fair ; 

And luscious fruits and clustered vines, 

Grew up amongst the flowers ; 
And many a joyous bright- winged bird, 

Was nestling in the bowers. 

And there the pilgrim paused at noon, 

His burning brow to lave, 
Allayed his thirst, refreshed his soul, 

And blessed the healthful wave. 

The human heart is such a spring, 

So bitter at its source, 
And thus its stream diffuses death 

Along its poisonous course. 

And while the bitter waters gush 

In streams of sin and wo, 
We know the fountain is not healed 

From which such waters flow. 

But touched by Grace, how pure and sweet 

The living waters spring, 
And make along life's barren way 

The sweetest verdure spring. 

All pure and gentle charities, 

That bless the fireside home, 
Awake in beauty, life, and joy, 

Where'er its waters come. 



FRIEND OF THE FRIENDLESS. 

Friend of the friendless ! Oh ! to thee, 

With bleeding heart I turn ; 
Thy sunny world is dark to me, 

And evermore I mourn ; 
The friends I loved — oh ! where are they ? 
Dead, faithless, cold, or far away ; — 
But Thou art kind, and ever near, 
To soothe the sigh and dry the tear. 

Hope of the hopeless ! see the last 

Of my fond hopes is gone ; 
A thousand brilliant dreams were past 

And this remained alone ! 
Deep in my secret soul it lay, 
My dream by night, my bliss by day ; 
'Tis broken ; — oh ! 'twas vanity ! 
Eternal Hope ! I fly to thee. 

Joy of the joyless ! see how low 

My full-blown joys are laid ; 
Where are the precious idols now 

That my fond heart had made ? 
See how it bleeds, yet madly clings 
Around the dear but ruined things ; 
Help me to cast them from thy throne, 
And kneel and worship Thee alone. 



THE VIOLET. 

My garden boasts of many a flower, 

And garlands crown the field and grove ; 

But here, beneath the hawthorn bower, 
I've found the flower I dearly love. 

Ah ! meekly droops its fragrant head 
Upon the green earth's genial breast ; 

And yet it seems that heaven has shed 
Its purest azure on its crest. 

And deep within its dewy eye 
A radiant sunbeam always lies, 

And from its bosom to the sky 
Its balmy breathings ever rise. 

And sometimes, when, at dreamy even, 
I've sought my favourite flower in vain, 

I fancied that the radiant heaven 
Had claimed its starry blue again. 

I oft have deemed this gentle flower 
In Flora's crown the sweetest gem, 

Like Piety with fragrant power, 
Adorning beauty's diadem. 



192 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

The richest beauty yields to death, 
And Genius' light will fade away, 

Fame may be blighted by a breath, 
And love and friendship own decay ;- 

But Piety, divinely pure, 
However humble be its lot, 

Will shed, as long as life endure, 
A joy, a fragrance round the spot ; 

And calmly pass away to live 

Where purity and beauty reign, — 

As dying violets seem to give 

Their azure back to heaven again. 



COME UNTO ME! 

11 Come unto me, all ye who labour and are heavy laden, and I 
will give you rest." 

Matthew xi. 28. 

" Come to me !" the Saviour cried, 

Thou with toil and care oppressed ; 
Come, ye heavy laden ones, 

And I will give you rest. 
Weary mortal, worn with pain, 

Bending 'neath the load of wo, 
Sweet and lasting is the rest 

That Jesus will bestow. 



COME UNTO ME ! 193 

Child of meagre poverty, 

Toiling for thy daily bread, 
Many a bitter heart-wrung tear 

It has been thine to shed ; 
Cold and weary is thy lot, 

By want, and care, and scorn oppressed, 
Bring thy burden to the Lord, 

And He will give thee rest. 

Mourner ! with the broken heart, 

Sobbing o'er the sable bier, 
Lies thy loved and loving one 

In death's cold ruin here? 
Kneel and pray ; there is a balm 

Of power to soothe and heal thy breast ; 
Jesus died — and rose again^ 

And He will give thee rest. 

Weary exile ! all alone, 

Wandering in life's toilsome way, 
Has this world of love and joy 

No home, no hope for thee ? 
Jesus, once a wanderer, 

Hath marked a path to mansions blessed ; 
Follow meekly with thy cross 

And He will give thee rest. 

Rich man ! art thou weary too 

Of fashion, pomp, and wakeful care ? 

Hast thou learned that pride is pain, 
And gold a shining snare ? 

Make the wealth that burdens thee 
Blessing to the poor, distressed ; 
17 



194 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Jesus then will smile, and give 
His faithful steward rest. 

Humble sinner ! kneeling low, 

Who dar'st not lift thine eyes lo heaven, 
Though thy wickedness be great, 

It may be all forgiven ; 
Do not suffer dark Despair 

To wind her chain about thy breast, 
Jesus is the sinner's friend, 

And He will give thee rest. 

Christian ! with the death-damp brow, 

Fitful pulse, and sobbing breath, 
Struggling with the piercing pangs, 

And bitterer fears of death ; 
Now, in thine extremest need, 

Oh, sweet the invitation blessed, 
Come, oh weary one, to me, 

In Everlasting Rest! 



THE SISTERS. 

A xx moved the reigning beauty 

Of the gorgeous lighted hall, 
Where incense, mirth, and melody 

Combined their magic thrall ; 
Where smiles and silvery voices, 

And soft and flashing eyes, 
And wreaths, and plumes, and flashing gems, 

Formed pleasure's paradise. 

Where glittering forms were braiding 

The graceful, dreamy dance ; 
And light feet flashed as mirrored stars 

On rippling waters glance. 
Amid this world of beauty, 

Queen-like she seemed to move, 
The spirit of its melody, 

The soul of health and love. 

That night, within her chamber, 

I heard that maiden say, 
11 Take these detested ornaments, 

This torturing dress away ; 
Wash from my cheek the carmine, 

The pearl-white from my neck ; 
How sallow is my bosom now, 

How very pale my cheek ! 



196 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

11 Now bring my box of medicines, 

The drops of opiate tell ; 
Oh, would this cup contained a draught 

From Lethe's fabled well, 
That so I might forget the pangs 

That pierced my heart to-night, 
As eyes that I would fain have filled, 

Turned elsewhere for their light. 

11 For heaven's sake, do not tease me 

With tales of want and wo ; 
I paid my milliner so much, 

I've nothing to bestow ,• 
There may be young hearts breaking, 

There may be widows poor, 
But oh ! they cannot feel the pangs, 

The sickness, I endure." 

Grace walked that pleasant evening 

Amid the dewy flowers, 
While birds with vesper melody 

Were gathering to their bowers ; 
The evening star was beaming 

Upon the quiet scene, 
With softened lustre, like a gem 

Through trembling waters seen. 

The peace of dewy twilight 
Lay soft o'er Nature's breast, 

And all the sweet and innocent 
Were sinking to their rest ; 

The fragrant winds were breathing 
A soft and balmy hush, 



THE SISTERS. 197 

And peace had spread her brooding wings 
Where all pure fountains gush. 

And she, that white-robed maiden, 

With bright brown, braided hair, 
The meekest and the sweetest flower, 

Where all were meek and fair, 
Is stealing to the dwelling 

Where want and sickness lie — 
A blessing to the weary heart, 

A joy-beam to the eye. 

She beareth consolation, 

She gives the hungry bread, 
And blessings from the comforted 

Are on her spirit shed. 
She seems an angel presence, 

A form of hope and love, 
To all the wretched ministering 

Sweet comforts from above. 

Fair sisters and young brothers 

Flock round her for a kiss ; 
She knows the key to each young heart, 

And tunes them all to bliss. 
Crowned with her parents' blessing, 

She lays her down to sleep, 
And health and peace beside her bed 

Their pleasant vigils keep. 
17* 



THE LAST PALE FLOWERS. 

The last pale flowers are drooping on the stems, 
The last sear leaves fall fluttering from the tree, 

The latest groups of Summer's flying gems, 
And hymning forth a parting melody. 

The winds are heavy-winged and linger by, 
Whispering to every pale and sighing leaf; 

The sunlight falls all dim and tremblingly, 

Like love's fond farewell through the mist of grief. 

There is a dreamy presence every where, 

As if of spirits passing to and fro ; 
We almost hear their voices in the air, 

And feel their balmy pinions touch the brow. 

We feel as if a breath might put aside 
The shadowy curtains of the spirit-land, 

Revealing all the loved and glorified 

That death has taken from affection's band. 

We call their names, and listen for the sound 
Of their sweet voices' tender melodies ; 

We look almost expectantly around, 

For those dear faces with the loving eves. 



THE ROSE AND MAIDEN. 199 

We feel them near us, and spread out the scroll 
Of hearts whose feelings they were wont to share, 

That they may read the constancy of soul 
And all the high pure motives written there. 

And then we weep, as if our cheek were pressed 
To friendship's holy unsuspecting heart, 

Which understands our own. Oh, vision blest ! 
Alas, that such illusion should depart. 

I oft have prayed that death may come to me 

In such a spiritual autumnal day ; 
For surely it would be no agony 

With all the beautiful to pass away. 



THE ROSE AND MAIDEN. 

With dew-drops on her diadem, 

The rose sat queenlike in her bower, 
And round her, on their pensile stems, 

Hung many a sweet young flower ; 
And 'mongst those blooms a maiden stood 

In radiant beauty's morning pride, 
With dewy glances worshipping 

The lover at her side. 
And there was music on the wind, 

And beauty in the earth, and sky, 
And with the living tide of bliss, 

All life seemed throbbing high. 



200 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

The rose's spray was dry and bare, 

And broken stalks around her lay ; 
The rose, and her companions fair, 

Has passed in tears away ; 
And in that life-deserted bower 

I saw a pale and drooping girl, 
Whose dim eye shed upon the earth 

Full many a liquid pearl. 
And there was wailing on the wind, 

And in her breast a grief untold ; 
Where vanished love had left behind 

His shadow black and cold. 

The virgin snow-wreath, chill and white, 

Lay glistening on the frozen spray, 
And like pure marble monuments, 

O'er all the blossoms lay ; 
And then beside the open grave, 

Wrapped in the shroud that maiden lay; 
The lashes of her leaden eyes 

Shadowing the cheek of clay ; 
And there were anthems on the wind, 

And agony in many a breast, 
As, earth to earth, they there consigned, 

The broken heart to rest. 



ONE DAY IN THY COURTS IS BETTER 
THAN A THOUSAND. 

One day in thy courts, oh, thou glorious King ! 

Where thine honour is dwelling, in mercy arrayed, 
Where the wounded in spirit their sacrifice bring, 

And the poor broken heart on thine altar is laid ; 
One day in thy courts, where the humble are kneeling, 
With tears of deep penitence silently stealing, 
The wound of the penitent spirit revealing, 
And the voice of the pleaders ascends to thy throne, 
In the name of thy Son, our Redeemer alone. 

One day in thy courts, where thy minister stands, 
In vestments that shadow the pure mind within, 
While sweet on the penitent spirit descends 

Thy message of gracious deliverance from sin ; 
One day in thy courts, where the ransomed are bending, 
Hearts, spirits, and voices, in harmony blending, 
In faith that the Teacher divine is attending ; 
Oh, surely the prayer by Immanuel given, 
When uttered by Faith, must find favour in heaven. 

One day in thy courts, where the anthem of praise 

To Maker, Redeemer, and Comforter rise, 
While organ's deep tones swell the triumphant lays 

That seem but to echo the hymns of the skies ; 
One day in thy courts, where thy servant is reading 
The pure word of life, and thy chosen flock feeding ; 
With sinners, thy mercy and faithfulness pleading, 
Still pointing to Jesus on Calvary bleeding, 



202 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

From whose wounded side flows the water and blood 
Which cleanse from all guilt and redeem us to God. 

One day in thy courts, when thy table is spread, 

And the pure in heart bidden to feast with the Lord, 
Where Immanuel's body is broken in bread, 

Where his covenant blood in the wine-cup is poured ; 
One day in thy courts, where the rich bread of heaven, 
To comfort and cheer the poor pilgrim is given, 
Where the well of salvation, with streams ever living 
Invites us to drink, with a hymn of thanksgiving, 
Remem'bring with transports of sorrow and love, 
The crucified Lord who now reigneth above. 

One day in thy courts, where the fir and the pine, 
With Lebanon's glory,, the cedar's dark green, 
While glittering leaves of the box-tree combine 

Their beautiful garlands the branches between, 
Fulfilling the anthem thy prophet was singing, 
W 7 ho saw far away the clear Gospel-day springing, 
With " Glory to God," from angelic hosts ringing ; 
And men crown'd with peace, with glad hosannah's 

bringing 
The evergreen branches, from valley and hill, 
The place of thy feet with their glory to fill. 

One day in thy courts ! — oh, how good to the soul 

Which has longed weary years in those courts to 
appear ; 
In a dry barren land, where no bright waters roll, 
No cooling spring gushes, the weary to cheer ; 
Which has wept day and night, while the taunters were 

saying, 
lt Where now is thy God, thou forsaken and straying?" 






THE WINTER WIND. 203 

One day in thy courts, where the blessed are staying, 

With holiday gladness rejoicing and praying, 

Is better, oh better, than thousands could be, 

Where all this world's treasures were garnered and free. 



THE WINTER WIND. 

Thou hast a mournful voice, oh, Winter Wind ! 

A mournful voice and dirgelike melody ; 
And deeper sadness penetrates the mind, 

As with thy wailing song thou lingerest by. 

There is a pleading sadness in thy tone, 
As with thy wing thou beatest at the door, 

Or shak'st the shutters, chaunting in the tone 
Of wild and fitful minstrelsy of yore. 

I listen to thy harpings, and at times 
Distinctly catch the burden of thy lay ; 

Some tale of human suffering, wreathed in rhyme, 
That wakens the deep heart of sympathy. 

Oh, mournful are thy stories, Winter Wind, 
And few there be that love thy truthful lay ; 

Wild fiction better suits the general mind, — 
The viol pleases best the rich and gay. 

The happy do not heed thee ; but the poor, 
The weeping widow, and the orphan child, 

The lone wife listening at the cottage door, 
The silent mourner, and the weeper wild; — 



204 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

These hear thy sobbing voice, and sadly blend 
Their sighs and wailing with thy plaintive lay ; 

Oh, sadder words than romance ever penned, 
Compose the chorus of thy minstrelsy. 

Moans of the perishing, who, all life long, 
Have struggled with misfortune's cruel sway ; 

Who might have won the richest meed of earth, 
Had one Samaritan came by that way. 

Of some who lie beneath the crushing weight 
Of scorn, and poverty, perchance of crime ; 

Who, raised and cheered by generous sympathy, 
Had won the proudest height the soul can climb. 

Oh, bitter voices mingle in thy hymn ; 

For bitter is the voice of that despair 
Which will not sue to man, and has not faith 

To offer to the Merciful one prayer. 

And painful are thy sobbing cadences, 
The mournful sighing of the desolate, 

In whose cold hearts the last dear bud of hope 
Lies withered by the wintry blast of fate. 

Oh, Winter Wind, thou hast a mournful voice 

Of mingled shrieks and waitings, sighs and moans; 

The poor and wretched understand thy song, 
And feel, ah, keenly feel, thy piercing tones. 



THE CHURCH. 

Rage on, vain world ; and thou, Fanaticism, 
Brandish thy noisy weapons, and shout forth 

Thy maddest war-cry, while low Ignorance 
Projects his weapons, clay and clods of earth. 

Ye rage in vain, ay, though the infernal gate 
Swing wide, and vomit fiendish malice out, 

The Church is safe, she fears no mortal arm, 
No demon ire, no threat, no battle shout ; 

The Church is safe ; on the eternal Rock, 
On which Immanuel laid her corner-stone, 

She sits secure, nor fears the battle shock, 
Though all the adverse powers unite as one, 

Ye cannot mar her beauty, or efface 

Her builder's signet from her guarded door, 

Or break one stone of her pure polished wall, 
With gracious promises engraven o'er. 

The storm may beat, the sea may roll his surge, 
The world may rage, and hell its powers combine, 

The Church is safe upon her living Rock, 

And heaven's celestial glories round her shine, 
18 



206 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

And grace and honour bind the rev'rend brows 
Of those, who at her sacred altars wait, 

And they are safe, and blest for evermore, 
Who find their rest within her guarded gate. 

For He, the First, the Last, th' Almighty God, 
Is ever near, to succour and defend ; 

This is his promise, written on her towers : 
" Lo, I am with you always, to the end !" 



- FAME: 



Imperial Goddess of the air, 
Enthroned in intellectual light, 

Thy signet kings are proud to wear, 
And Virtue deems it bright. 

But Genius worships at thy feet, 

With burning heart upraised to thee, 

While on its coals, like incense sweet, 
His life consumes away. 

He feels the dying embers glow 

Without one pang of fond regret, — 

Content if on his death-white brow 
Thy signet may be set. 

More precious than the purest gem 
From ocean cave, or mountain mine, 

More glorious than the diadem, 
Is that bright seal of thine, 



FAME. 207 

No power of darkness can conceal, 
No flood can quench its living ray : 

Its lustre is the earthly seal 
Of immortality. 

Once uttered by thy voice divine, 
A name must live for evermore — 

An anthem of the sea of Time, 
Along the sounding shore. 

But why should Woman kneel to thee, 

And ask the gift that men adore ? 
Why should she w 7 ish to have her name 

Remembered evermore 1 

The meekness of a holy love 

Should shed its radiance on her brow, 

With Piety, a gem above 
Thy meteoric glow. 

One loving heart alone should bear 

The living impress of her name, 
And children, trained with tender care, 

Should be her all of Fame. 

The heart is sick ; it hath no rest, 

Where Woman's sacred rest should be, 

If in its yearnings to be blest 
It wildly follows thee. 

But oh ! to Woman's soul thou art 

A mirage on life's desert sand, 
Luring the weary, burning heart 

As to a heavenly land. 



208 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

But when she thinks to wear thy flowers, 
To rest beside thy fountain fair, 

And banquet in thy vocal bowers — 
The hot dry sand is there. 



LIFE. 

Like a strain of melody, 
Gushing from an angel lyre, 

With a wild and tuneful wail, 

Breaking from the quivering wire ; 

Ruffling with its viewless wing, 
One small billow of the air ; 

Then with cadence of a sigh, 

Passing — no one knoweth where. 

Such is Life — and even so 
Passeth it from earth away ; 

Where it findeth place of rest, 
Echo cometh not to say. 

Yet Faith heareth far away, 

Where no venturous foot hath trod, 
Floods of perfect melody, 

Living round the throne of God. 



TO HIM WHO SAID, " GOD BLESS YOU !" 

" God bless you !" Oh, I thank thee for thy prayer, 
It falls so like a balm-leaf on my heart, 

My weary heart, which beats so heavily, 

And needs the blessing which those words impart, 
God bless you ! 

When I am lone, and drooping, and oppressed 
With griefs which woman trusts not to the air, 

My trembling spirit shall ascend to heaven, 
And hear thy voice of music pleading there, 
God bless you ! 

And when my heart is glad with joy or hope, 
Or Friendship's blissful presence, sweetly then 

Will Memory point my trembling thought to thee, 
And hear repeated, with a glad Amen, 

God bless you ! 

No incense breath of flattery or applause, 

Nor voice of Fame, which man will die to hear ; 
Or Love, earth's echo to the pulse of heaven, 
Could touch my spirit like that earnest prayer, 
God bless you ! 
IS* 



210 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

God bless you ! — May the prayer thy heart sent up, 
To plead with God for one of earth unblest, 

Return with blessings bright and warm from heaven, 
And lay them all upon thy brow and breast. 
God bless you ! 



THE RUINED HEART. 

There is a noble temple, which of yore 
Was glorious, with a sumptuous garniture 

Of shining tapestry, embroidered o'er 
With ever-changing magic portraiture. 

All lovely and exalted things of earth, 

Each touched with glory beaming from on high, 

Shifting in beauty, as the gorgeous folds 

Were moved by breezes voiced with melody. 

And there was wreathing up for evermore 
Rich incense from pure censers of fine gold, 

Where all sweet thoughts assembled to adore, 
And touch the sacred fire with bliss untold. 

Then in that temple all was light and joy, 
And melody and beauty mingled there ; 

Now, come and look how dark, how desolate, 
How cold, how voiceless, all its chambers are ! 

Long since the bitter waters of despair 

Quenched out the fire upon that altar-stone, 

And mourning spread her pall of midnight there, 
And music died in one low quivering moan. 



TO MRS. S . 211 

Yet oft at nightfall to the bolted door 

Sweet shadowy groups of spirit memories come, 
The dear familiar faces shaded o'er 

With tender sadness by the twilight gloom. 

They linger sadly round the ruined place, 

And plead for entrance with a low sweet tone ; 

But angels cross that threshold never more, 
And Echo answers — " I am here alone !" 



TO MRS. S- 



A COMMENT ON HER WORDS, " MY FIRST-BORN SON," IN 
A LETTER TO THE AUTHOR. (1838.) 

" My first-born son /" If aught there is 
That touches all affection's chords, 

And stirs the deepest fount of bliss, 
It lives in these endearing words. 

How many thrilling cares and fears 
Are born with that one helpless child, 

Is witnessed by the throbs and tears 

With which his new-named parents smiled. 

From the deep spirit gushes forth 
A spring of love unknown before, 

And there's no power, no spell of earth, 
Can keep that spring from running o'er. 



212 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Dear madam, may no bitter drop 

Dash that sweet fountain in thy breast ; 

No cruel canker blight thy hope, 
No mildew on thy young bud rest. 

But may he flourish, strong and fair, 
A beautiful and blessed child, 

That thou mayst feel no bitter care 
For that fair form and spirit mild ; 

But even in his infant breast, 
May Jesus plant his love divine, 

And grace upon his spirit rest, 

To shed the dew of peace on thine. 

So shall he be the glorious flower, 
That crowns with joy the parent tree, 

And bless thee in thine autumn hour, 
With ripe fruits of felicity. 

And when at length the snows of age 
Lie cold and heavy on thy head, 

His piety shall pain assuage, 

And smiling comfort round thee spread. 

Thus would I bless thee in thy son, — 
But, lady ! He, who knoweth best, 

May choose to take thy little one 
To his celestial home of rest. 

Remember, when thy warm heart clings 
Fondly around thy infant boy, 

That death may break those twining strings, 
And rob thee of a parent's joy. 



CENTENARY HYMN. 213 

Then do not fondly idolize 

The treasure lent thee from above, 

But hold it as a sacred trust 

From Him who claims supremest love. 

Then should his tender mercy free 
From earth and sin that darling child, 

Thou wilt escape the agony 
That tortures th' unreconciled. 



CENTENARY HYMN. 

COMPOSED FOR THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF THE 
GERMAN REFORMED CHURCH. (1841.) 

Thou who art enthroned in Glory, 

Crowned with Love and robed in Grace, 
Lo ! we humbly bow before Thee, 

OfTring up our songs of praise. 
Mighty God and gracious Saviour ! 

Spirit of enduring grace ! 
Come, in thine especial favour, 

With thy Glory fill this place. 

See the star whose rising splendour 

Heralded a Saviour's birth, 
Now in its meridian grandeur, 

Smiles upon the joyous earth ; 
Heart, and hand, and effort blending, 

In its radiance now we meet ; 
And our mingled pray'rs ascending 

Seek thee on thy mercy-seat. 



, 214 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

We would celebrate the changes 

Which a Hundred Years have made, 
Since our fathers — poor and strangers — 

Sought the Western forest's shade. 
From Helvetia's vine-clad mountains 

Came a little friendless band ; 
By the rich Rhine's infant fountains, 

Others left their father-land. 

Germany's bright streams are flowing 

Through the vales where others dwelt ; 
Or her mountain winds are blowing 

Past the altars where they knelt. 
Thou wert with them o'er the ocean, 

To these wilds where freedom stray 'd, 
'Neath her bowers, with true devotion, 

First these grateful pilgrims pray'd. 

Here the little vine, increasing, 

Spread its branches green and fair ; , 
Now, by thine especial blessing, 

See how wide thy vineyards are ! 
Come and take the ripen'd cluster — 

All the vintage, Lord, is thine ; — 
But let mercy temper justice, 

Where thou meet'st a fruitless vine. 

Humble are the gifts we offer, 
Bless them in thy grace divine ; 

Thou wilt not despise the proffer, 
Though the universe is thine. 

Make our gifts a rich oblation 
Many a mourning heart to cheer, 



SUMMER, FAREWELL ! 215 

While the light of thy salvation 
Gilds each penitential tear. 

Let our institutions flourish, 

Sending forth a pious band, 
With the words of life to nourish 

All who hunger through the land. 
Zion spreads her hands before Thee ; 

Come, and in her temples reign, — 
While we give all praise and glory 

To the triune God. — Amen ! 



SUMMER, FAREWELL ! 

Sweet Summer ! fare thee well ! 

I hear thy passing sigh 
Sweep fitfully along the dell, 

Where the last fainting blossoms lie. 
The tulip's reign is o'er, 

The rose has passed away, 
The snowy lily blooms no more, 

The honeysuckle owns decay. 

Sweet Summer, fare thee well ! 

Thy long bright days are past ; 
The rays that on earth's bosom fell 

Now all aslant the zone are cast. 
The seraphs of the earth 

Have ceased the hymning lay, 
And from the bowers of their birth 

Are flitting silently away. 



216 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Sweet Summer, fare thee well ! 

Thy bowers are growing drear, 
While thick upon the fitful gale 

Flutters the foliage reft and sere. 
While, writhing in the blast, 

The strong and stately trees 
Bow meekly to the storm, and cast 

Their glorious chaplets on the breeze. 

Sweet Summer, fare thee well! 

By forest, stream, or grove, 
Thy joyous notes no longer swell 

To ecstacy and holy love. 
Alas, the joyous time 

Of flow'rs, and glittering wings ! 
Alas, the Summer's balmy prime, 

And all her rich and glorious things ! 

Sweet Summer ! fare thee well ! 

Winter will build thine urn, 
And wildly shriek thy funeral knell, — 

Yet thou wilt joyfully return. 
I will not weep for thee, 

Or my own summer fled ; — 
Thou wilt return triumphantly, 

And I arise rejoicing from the dead 






THE MAIDEN TO HER MOTHER. 

On, let me die, dear mother, 

With my head upon thy breast, 
Thus sinking in thy loving arms 

To sweet unbroken rest. 
Look on me with thy loving eyes, 

Thou need'st not hide the tears, 
But let me see the loving smile 

That blessed my sunny years. 

Oh, bless thee for the sorrow 

That heaves thy gentle heart, 
I would not have thee cold and calm 

The while my lifestrings part ; 
No — let me feel the tear and smile 

That speak thy yearning love, — 
A love almost as pure as that 

To which I now remove. 

But do not mourn, dear mother, 

When all my pains are o'er, 
And grief, and wrong, and bitterness, 

Can come to me no more. 
Oh, never wish me back to earth, 

Where all sweet blossoms fade, 
And where the brightest form of joy 

Is followed by a shade. 
19 



218 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

I would not stay, dear mother, 

Till blight and sorrow come, 
Till disappointment, care, and pain, 

Have made my breast their home ; 
Then let me die now, mother dear, 

Encircled by thy love, 
And pass from thy sweet home below, 

To God's pure home above. 



THE WOMAN TO HER GRAND-DAUGHTER. 

Oh, bless thee, dearest daughter, 

Of my youngest, dearest child, 
Thou hast thy gentle mother's voice, 

So musically mild ; 
I deem that thou art like her, too, 

In beauty's maiden grace, 
Though these dim eyes could never read 

The features of thy face. 

But in my soul she liveth, 

My beautiful young dove, 
And thou art like her, for thou hast 

Her voice and heart of love. 
Once more arrange the pillows for 

This weak and weary head, — 
Thank God, who gave me such a child, 

To smooth my dying bed ! 

Nay, do not weep, my darling, 
'Tis time that I should die, 



THE WOMAN TO HER GRAND-DAUGHTER. 219 

The chill of death is in my veins, 

Its darkness on mine eye ; 
And unto me so many years 

Have been in mercy given, 
That I am ready for the grave, 

And wait and long for heaven. 

My life has not been weary 

In useful labour spent, 
With cheerful service in my hands, 

And in my heart content ; 
And love — the truest human love — 

Has walked beside me still, 
A light, a joy, a comforter, 

Through scenes of good and ill. 

Though of the dear and loving, 

To me in kindness given, 
Some in their youth and loveliness 

Have passed away to heaven ; 
I never have been left alon^e, 

For still around me grew 
A cluster of devoted hearts, 

The tender, tried, and true. 

Though now the dim land's shadow 

Hath closed before mine eyes, 
Deep treasured in my spirit's shrine, 

A blazoned volume lies ; 
And Memory turneth leaf by leaf, 

Before my mental sight, 
And all the pictures of the past 

Are lifelike in her light. 



220 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

I never have been lonely, 

In my darkness and my pain, 
With past and present tenderness, 

To solace and sustain ; 
And now the future lies revealed, 

In light and joy divine, 
By the sure mercies of my God, 

Through Christ's redemption, mine. 



ON HEARING A BLUEBIRD SING. 

Thou Giver of all perfect gifts, 
I thank Thee for the singing bird, 

Since by her voice devotion's strings 
Within my heart are stirred. 

Oh, what a loving joyous hymn 
She singeth^from the leafless tree, 

She hath no sorrow, feels no care, 
But gladly trusts in Thee. 

Her carol melts the heavy ice 

Of unbelief that chained my soul, 

As sunbeams break the icy bands 
Of Winter's long control. 

I thank Thee for the singing bird, 
Thine angel to this cold world given, 

With azure wing and song of love, 
To lift the heart to heaven. 



TO HIM WHO PRESENTED TO ME A PEN. 221 

Oh, were I like that trusting bird, 
That sings beneath the sunny sky, 

And meekly folds her wings, and waits 
Till night and storm pass by; 

That joys to build her little nest, 

And dwell in woodlands wild and free, 

And warble out her little soul 
In melody to Thee. 

Thou Giver of all perfect gifts, 

I thank Thee for the singing bird, 
Since by her voice the holy springs 

Of love and faith are stirred. 



TO HIM WHO PRESENTED TO ME A PEN. 

Dear friend, till now I had not dipp'd in ink 
The diamond point of this, thy gift to me, 

And now my hand and heart would dedicate 
The earliest tracery of thy gift to thee. 

Oh, that my soul were worthy of thy gift, 
Then would I register immortal lays, 

And set thy name in pure and dazzling gems, 
Amid a trophy of Parnassian bays. 

But 'tis not mine — my friend, it is not mine, 
To charm in living numbers, from the lyre, 

Such words as burn themselves into the soul, 
And live for ever, like heaven's altar-fire ; 
19* 



222 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Nor may I hope to write the hymn that flows 
With murmur of sweet music, evermore, 

Like clear cold waters with their silvery tone, 
And holy blessing to the flowery shore. 

It needs no lay of mine to keep thy worth 
Green in the temple of immortal fame, 

For thou hast placed it where it shall endure 
When earth has lost the echo of my name. 

But with thy precious gift, my generous friend, 
I grave thy memory in the spirit-shrine, 

Where Gratitude shall wreath it with her hymn 
Of living incense, to the Friend divine. 



THE ANGEL'S VISIT. 

My head was weary, and my heart was faint 
With toil, and care, and sorrow, and I lay 

In dreamy musing, while the holy moon 
Poured o'er my pillow her celestial day. 

A gentle murmur, as of waving wings, 
Which shed a soothing balm upon the air, 

Now filled my chamber. 'Tis the angel Sleep, 
I said ; she comes in answer to my prayer ; 

And I will see her beauty, and will gaze 
Into the poppies on her brow and breast, 

And watch the dreamy spirits braid the spells 
That shed enchantment o'er the hour of rest. 



the angel's visit. 223 

I looked ; — there stood an angel by my bed, 
But 'twas not Sleep with heavy-lidded eyes, 

With slumbrous wreaths, and sceptre of such down 
As o'er the bosom of the cygnet lies. 

But looking down upon me, with such eyes 
As make the spirit conscious of their power 

To search the springs that move its deepest chord, 
And read the heart-leaf of its inmost flower ; 

With neither badge or emblem, there she stood, 
The holy moonlight resting on her brow, 

And draping her fair form ; — with trembling voice, 
I murmured, " Heavenly creature ! who art thou ?" 

Then came a voice, still as an infant's sleep, 
Yet thrilling as the trumpet's tone of fear ; 

My soul grew faint, and trembled as she spake, — 
u I am the Spirit of the passing year. 

" Lo ! I have walked beside thee many days, 

With ministry of mercy ; now I go 
To Him who sent me, for the New Year comes, 

I hear his footsteps in the drifting snow. 

" Search now amid my precious gifts to thee, 
Some gem that hath received no earthly stain, 

Which I may bear with me to Heaven, a pledge 
That I have not been sent to thee in vain. 

" And it shall be an evidence for thee, 

When thou shalt stand before the judgment seat, 

Where years misspent, and gifts unsanctified, 
In dark array thy naked soul shall meet." 



224 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

14 What shall I give ?" I asked. And she replied, 
" Bring me the days that have been well employed, 

The blessings worthily and purely used, 

The hallowed griefs, bliss blamelessly enjoyed." 

I searched the days, but not a single gem 

Of all the chain was perfect in its light, 
My heart was fainting as I marked the stains, 

On things that came from heaven, so pure and bright. 

And then I scanned the deeds that I had done, 
For one so pure that it might speak to God ; 

I might as well have sought the morning star 
Amongst the fragile blossoms of the sod. 

I turned me to the precious things of life, 

• And sought one leaf that was not touched of earth, 
But Truth, and Hope, and Faith, and Charity, 
Ah me ! and yet they were of heavenly birth. 

But Love and Friendship — I have kept them pure 
In my heart's holiest chamber. Look ! I cried, 

How perfect, how divinely beautiful, 

How long enduring and how sorely tried ! 

Yes, they shall be my pleaders. So I laid 
My priceless jewels in the moon's cold ray, 

And looked upon them, — oh ! the dear frail things ! 
I hid them in my heart, and turned away, 

II Go, bring thy lyre," the pitying angel said, 

"It hath perchance some high and holy hymn, 
Which may be offered at the Throne of Heaven, 
And mingled with the living seraphim." 



the angel's visit 225 

I brought the harp, and as I touched the strings, 
Each threw its holiest gem upon my breast, 

But as I looked upon them, I beheld 

My heart — my heart on every one impressed. 

" Give me a prayer," she said, " one earnest prayer 
That hath upon its wing no human stain." 

" Yes ! I can find a sinless prayer" I said ; 

And sought it with a prayer, but sought in vain. 

" I have no pure memento then," I sighed, 

" Which may in Heaven's bright treasury be kept ; — 

Thou hast been mine in vain, departing year ! 
Oh, lost for ever !" — Bitterly I wept. 

And then the angel smiled. " Thou'st found the gift," 
She whispered. " These are penitential tears ; 

I bear the humble pleaders up to God, 

With better promise for the future years." 



THE REVELATION. 

The world was gathered at Beth-araba, 
Beyond the Jordan, in the wilderness, 

Attracted thither by the Messenger 

Whom God had sent before Immanuel's face, 

Was preaching fearlessly — exclaiming still, 
" Repent ye, for the kingdom of our God 

Is now at hand ; repent, and bring such fruits 
As may avert the near impending rod. 

11 Renounce all wicked ways, and be baptized 
For the remission of your many sins ; 

Flee from the wrath to come, before the day 
That burns with fire unquenchable begins. 

" I baptize you with water, but there comes 
One after me, far mightier than I ; 

He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, 
And fire from the pervading flame on high." 

His words fell on the multitudes with power, 
Convincing them of sin, abasing pride, 

And moving hundreds to confess their guilt 
And seek remission at the cleansing tide. 



THE REVELATION. 227 

Then Jesus came, with unpretending mien, 

From Galilee to Jordan, unto John, 
To be baptized of him, and thus fulfil 

All righteousness, and put his mission on. 

The rite was finished, and as Jesus came 
Up from the water, lo ! a voice, so clear, 

Distinct, and soul-pervading, came from heaven, 
And fell distinctly on the startled ear, 

Proclaiming: — " This is my beloved Son, 

In whom I am well pleased !" — the while a dove 

Descended swiftly from the open heaven, 

And closed above his brow its wings of love. 

Thus stood Immanuel, with the Holy Ghost 
Brooding upon him, while from heaven pealed 

The undoubted voice of the Eternal God, 

And thus, the Triune Godhead was revealed. 



TO MRS. SIGODRNEY, (1844.) 

To me thou seem'st a beauteous shell, 

Thrown out upon some fairy isle, 
In whose deep heart a spirit band 

Are hymning all the while. 
Rich music, wreathed of sun and shade, 

Of love and grief, of joy and wo, 
A thrilling of all tender chords 

That human bosoms know ; 
And woven through each mellow lay 

The same rich tone for ever rings, 
The music of the ocean lyre 

Swept by ethereal wings. 
Yes, though upon the mountain top 

The shell of ocean seems to sleep, 
Still murmurs from its inmost cell 

The music of the deep. 

And I have deemed thee like a bird 

Brought from some far-off sunny land, 
Where sport in never-fading groves 

The tuneful-hearted band ; 
Where melody the whole day long 

Lies languid on the scented air, 
And purple evening bears to heaven 

Rich wreaths of chaunted pray'r. 



TO MRS. SIGOURNF.Y. 229 

Though captive in this wintry clime, 

And taught full many a foreign song, 
Which thy rich mellow cadences 

Delightfully prolong ; 
The native notes, so wild and sweet, 

That dwell in thy deserted home, 
Gush forth unbidden from thy heart, 

Where'er thy pinions roam. 

For all the breathings of thy lyre, 

Whate'er the lay, whate'er the theme, 
Be it the moan of chill despair, 

Or young life's passion dream ; 
Or if maternity's deep love 

Gush tremblingly o'er the thrilling string, 
Or maidenhood's pure trust and truth, 

And fervent worshipping ; 
Or the low wail above the bier 

Where the heart's jewels broken lie ; 
Or the sweet hymn of holy Hope 

That bears the soul on high ; — 
All breathe of heaven ; a gentle strain 

Of pure and earnest piety ; 
The music of thy spirit-home 

Pervades thy minstrelsy. 



20 



THE BATTLE-FIELD. 

It is the field of battle, overspread 
With hideous mangled remnants of the dead ; 
Tread warily, for look ! the beaten sod 
Is foul with dark coagulated blood ; 
Foxes, and dogs, and loathsome birds of prey, 
Feasting with joy on poor mortality ; 
Sucking the blood, tearing the hero's breast, 
Eating the patriot's heart. Ha ! horrid feast — 
Yet not an arm is tossed to fright away 
The sated rovers from the gory prey ; 
And not a sound awakes the tainted air, 
Though even the tongue the glutted vultures tear. 

And can these be the remnants of the bands 
By honour's voice impelled from distant lands, 
Who yestermorning gloried in their might, 
And stamped the earth, impatient for the fight ? 
Who vowed to win a laurel and a name, 
Meet for the altar of immortal fame ? 
Yet there's no wreath upon the ghastly brow, 
And who will name these festering relics now ? 
While all that Fame with brazen tongue can tell 
Is, that they marched to battle, fought, and fell ; 
And Honour, if a garland she bestow, 
Will bind it proudly round the general's brow ; 






THE BATTLE-FIELD. 231 

While over these, an undistinguished heap, 
Even their country will not pause to weep. 

Is this the fame, the honour, and the meed, 
For which the iron-hearted soldiers bleed ? 
Can this be man's unenviable lot, 
To perish like a dog and be forgot ? 
Forgot 1 Oh, no ! For though his country shed 
No tears, no honours, on his lowly bed, 
Still each has left in some dear distant home, 
The tree of memory in its richest bloom, 
Whose strong and tender tendrils are entwined 
Round every fibre of some gentle mind ; 
Some icomarts heart, that cherishes its bloom, 
And feeds her spirit with its rich perfume. 

Look here ! This severed hand belongs to one 
Who was a widowed mother's only son ; 
She now sits lonely in her cottage home, 
And looks, and longs, to see her darling come. 
By her, affliction, poverty, and scorn, 
Have been with fortitude and meekness borne ; 
Her children faded in their infant bloom, 
And one by one sunk smitten to the tomb ; 
Yet then a soothing light from Paradise, 
Shone through the tears that filled her clouded eyes. 
And when adversity, with iron hand, 
Shook her, an exile from her native land, 
She clung the closer with a woman's truth 
To him on whom she hung the trust of youth. 
But when with broken spirit he bent down, 
'Neath fortune's blow and the world's scornful frown ; 



232 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

When all her tender soothing proved in vain, 

And even her smile but added to his pain ; 

When on his cheek consumption's hectic bloom 

Began to wreath the garland of the tomb ; 

Then with a fond and faithful Christian's care 

She fled to God with agonizing prayer, 

Lest doubt should hang her pall above his tomb, 

And shroud her mourning spirit in its gloom. 

But when the peace and happiness of heaven, 

To his subdued and humble soul were given, 

W^hen love divine, with its triumphant ray, 

Scattered the clouds of guilt and doubt away, 

With joy she heard the parting spirit sing, 

" Grave ! where's thy victory ? Death ! where is thy 

sting ?" 
And in the bliss of his eternal gain, 
Almost forgot her widowhood and pain. 
Yet now her dwelling was an humble shed, 
And her own hand procured her daily bread ; 
No wonder that her heart, so wrung and reft, 
Clung fondly to her only treasure left ; 
The little boy, who, when his father died, 
Kissed her pale cheek to soothe her while she cried — 
No wonder that she watched him day and night, 
And could not trust her treasure from her sight ; 
No wonder that her eye had learned to seek 
Its hope's assurance on his ruddy cheek ; 
That her ear tingled, and her heart grew faint, 
If from his lips escaped the least complaint ; 
That she abridged her wardrobe and her bread, 
That he might be with classic treasures fed ; 
And that as age made brain and eye grow dim, 
She leaned for light and comfort all on him. 



THE BATTLE-FIELD. 233 

How came he here ? Alas ! the youthful mind 
To chivalry and daring deeds inclined ; 
With ardent heart he joined the patriot band 
That loved the honour of their native land ; 
And though he thought upon his mother's tears, 
And knew how age increases love's fond fears, 
His young heart knew not — oh, it could not know — 
The depth of that fond widowed mother's wo ; 
But thought with fame and honour to return, 
And bid her heart with pride and rapture burn. 
He left her on her knees, and, night and day, 
Her whole employment was to weep and pray. 
But He who would possess her heart alone 
Has stricken her dear idol from its throne. 
Now when the tidings pierce through her dull ears, 
And her dim eyes pour forth their bitterest tears, 
With broken heart descending to the tomb, 
While no loved face illumes that path of gloom, 
Her wounded heart will meekly turn to God, 
And learn to bless his name, and kiss his rod. 

Here lies a ghastly head, with here and there, 
Amongst the thick dark curls, a silver hair, 
Even through the shades of death, the eye can trace 
Manhood's full ripen'd beauty in the face ; 
But the wide eyes are passionless and dim, 
As if no feeling e'er had swayed with him. 
Yet he has felt, as few are form'd to feel ; 
And loved — but few have ever loved so well ; 
And she, who was the centre of his bliss, 
Was worthy of a love and truth like his. 
And there were joys within his humble home, 
Such as have seldom blest the lordly dome ; 
20* 



234 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

For love, with full confiding, nestled there, 
And health and industry excluded care ; 
And they were happy in a conscious pride, 
That all the other's bliss on each relied ; 
And oh, how dear was every blooming child, 
That on that happy mother's bosom smiled. 
Those who live only for domestic joys, 
Unvex'd by pride, or fashion's empty toys ; 
Who pass long years in one sweet blessed home, 
Where anguish and bereavement never come, 
Where wild ambition never lights his fires, 
Where avarice never comes with mean desires, 
Where this one wish pervades each pious breast, 
To see its loved ones all supremely blest ; — 
He only unto whom it has baen given 
To live the lord of such a perfect heaven, 
Has felt the poignant pang of agony, 
With which this slaughtered one came forth to die, 
While on his bosom big bright tear-drops shone, 
Wrung from a heart that worshipp'd him alone ; 
And a cold, trembling hand's long lingering press, 
Was thrilling every nerve of tenderness. 
" Oh God ! to thy protection I confide 
My widow and my fatherless," he cried ; 
11 Farewell ! I shall return to you no more — 
And now the bitterness of death is o'er." 

Bravely he stood upon this battle-field, 
His country's honour and her rights to shield ; 
He fell, and with him died the heavenly bloom 
Of happiness within his darken'd home. 
If the bright orb of light and warmth were riven 
From his high centre, in the glowing heaven, 



THE BATTLE-FIELD. 235 

The planets that now dance around his throne, 

Receiving light and life from him alone, 

In cold chaotic death and darkness left, 

Would shadow forth the home whence he was reft. 

Pause here a moment — here lies one who died 
In the full bloom of manhood's morning pride, 
How calm, how still, how placid, seems his sleep ; 
Come, look upon this marble brow, and weep. 
Here lies the blood all clotted on his breast, 
And here's the ball-hole in the broider'd vest. 
His hand is thrust within, — let's view the wound ; — 
Oh look ! see what a treasure I have found ! 
See what a brilliant miniature is pressed, 
By these stiff fingers to the cold white breast. 
Was this the idol of his latest thought, 
Pressed to a heart with early passions fraught? 
Or did he, as his lifestrings, one by one, 
Relaxed their shivering hold, or lost their tone, 
As the last fervent pray'r arose to heav'n, 
Winged with the consciousness of sin forgiven, 
Entreat rich consolation from above, 
For the wrung spirit of his gentle love ? 
Or, as in agony his languid head 
Sunk down upon his cold wet dying bed, 
Perhaps he felt it sad to die alone, 
And grasp'd the shadow of that lovely one, 
As if its bright and loving smile had power 
To soothe the bitterness of such an hour. 
Or were she present ! The fair girl who lies 
With anxious heart, and weary waking eyes, 
Unmindful of the splendour round her thrown, 
Musing upon her distant love alone ; 



236 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

'Twould well become that generous heart to break, 

Which could relinquish all for his dear sake. 

She is a rich man's daughter, yet her soul 

Has never own'd the enervate control 

Of wealth or fashion ; guileless is her heart, 

And her whole character untouch'd by art. 

And as the rich and native incense flows 

From the deep bosom of the open rose, 

So from the spirit comes each word and tone, 

That form the language of this gentle one ; 

While feelings that her tongue is loath to speak, 

Look from the clear blue eye and changing cheek, 

Which vary, to the heart's emotions true, 

From the cold marble to'the carmine hue. 

Oh, it has been the joy of these closed eyes 

To watch the bright'ning beams, and varying dyes, 

Which answer'd still to his impassion'd words, 

Like faithful echoes from affection's chords. 

While her heart felt as if her girlhood's joys, 

And rich home's treasures, were but childish toys, 

Which it could freely, cheerfully resign 

For the full heart he offered at her shrine. — 

But that is past, and she must surfer now 

The pangs that only woman's heart can know ; 

The utter desolation and despair 

Which only woman's heart is formed to bear. 

Here lies a calm-faced corpse, with silver hair, 
And hands close clasped as if in fervent pray'r ; 
He was a Christian, and his latest breath 
Was joyful triumph o'er the conqueror, Death. 
His eldest son fell nobly at his side ; 
He felt death's anguish when the brave boy died ; 



THE BATTLE-FIELD. 237 

And now his house is of all stay bereft, 

For girls and stripling boys alone are left. 

Yet, e'en for these, his soul on God relied, 

And full of peace, and hope, and joy, he died. 

His wife and children, in their peaceful home, 

Even now expect the war-worn one to come ; 

And each has something treasured up to prove 

The fond remembrance of assiduous love. 

The girls, with industry and nicest care, 

Have manufactured garments for his wear, 

And each glad boy preserved from field and grove, 

The choicest fruits as offerings of love. 

While she who loved him more than all the rest, 

Has tender treasures hoarded in her breast ; 

Each touching incident of household joy, 

And filial breathing of his fair young boy ; 

Whate'er has given a bliss to her staid heart, 

And every incident that caused a smart, 

Are written in the sanctuary there, 

Half felt, till he returns, the thrill to share. 

Yet long and vainly shall they watch for him, 

Till all hearts faint and every eye grows dim ; 

Anguish shall canker each fair daughter's bloom, 

While moths her offering of love consume. 

Each young boy's face shall beam with saddened ray, 

While all untasted his rich fruits decay, 

And in the widow's heart the unshared store 

Must lie a canker at its inmost core. 

They do not murmur at their God's decree, 
They bend them down in meek humili y ; 
But they have met the blight of mental pain, 
And the seared heart will never bloom again. 



238 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

So I have seen the lovely fragile flower 

Bend meekly down, beneath the driving shower, 

And when the winds were hushed, the clouds gone by, 

Raise up tow'rd heaven again its humid eye. 

But though its wonted hue the flow'ret wore, 

And shed its incense richly as before, 

Its bloom was touched, and premature decay 

In the bruised stem and shivered leaflets lay. 

Full many a human flow'r of richest bloom, 
Have war's fierce storms crushed early to the tomb, 
While thousands fall upon the field of blood, 
And pour life out at once in sanguine flood, 
Thousands are slain, who linger" on for years, 
And waste life, drop by drop, in bitter tears. 
Those who lie low on this polluted plain, 
By war's dire implements of butchery slain, 
Are happier far than those whose spirits feel 
The wound that none can bear, that naught can heal, 
Which knows no solace, and can find no calm, 
Except in meek Religion's soothing balm. 



THE LITTLE BROOK. 

From a neat cottage by a brook, 

Beneath embowering trees, 
The lullaby of a mother's love 

Came sweetly on the breeze ; 
And by that brook, so clear and bright, 

The early primrose grew, 
And bird-songs mingled with the light, 

And with the evening dew. 
And round that humble cottage door 

A little maiden played, 
Whose voice was blither than the birds 

Beneath her native shade ; 
And as she cropped the primrose sweet, 

And laughed with infant glee, 
I thought that earth had naught so glad, 

So beautiful as she ! 

Again I saw, beside that brook, 

And 'neath the same rich shade, 
Watching the setting summer sun, 

A young and blooming maid : 
Her soft blue eyes were full of hope, 

Her cheek was rosy bright, 
And round her lip danced all the smiles 

And dimples of delight ! 



240 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

A new-blown lily's fragrant head 
Was nestling on her breast ; — 

I said that earth had naught like her, 
So blooming and so blest ! 

'Twas evening by that little brook, 

And soft the clear moon shone, 
While winds came courting to the flow'r, 

With the Edolian tone — 
And 'mid the music, light, and bloom, 

In full-blown beauty's pride, 
A maiden stood, but not alone, — 

Her love was by her side. 
And he was beautiful and strong, 

Brave, excellent, and free ; 
And told his tale of love and truth, 

In all sincerity. 
I heard him ask, in soft low tone, 

If she would be his bride ; 
Her eyelids veiled a world of bliss, , 

As trembling she replied ; 
Her cheek was brighter than the rose 

That blushed upon her brow ; 
And then I thought, earth has no gift 

That she can covet now ! 

Years passed ; and still that little brook 
Flowed bright and glad along, 

And young primroses by its side 
Were list'ning to its song ; 

And glancing wings, and joyous lays, 
Were floating through the shade j 






THE LITTLE RROOK. 241 

But where was she of other days, 

The little laughing maid ? 
Or where was she, within whose breast 

The lily sought to hide? 
Whose maiden blush of love and joy 

The bright red rose outvied? 

Lo ! seated on a primrose bank, 

Where bending osiers sigh, 
A lady sits, mature of years, 

With intellectual eye ; 
Fashion has aided wealth to form 

Her costume, rich and rare, 
Bright gold and gems adorned her brow, 

But, O ! 'twas marked with care ! 
Yet she was beautiful, and blest 

With genius, wealth, and pow'r ; 
And she had been in classic lands, 

And trod each famous shore. 
Now she had come to sit once more 

Beneath the whispering trees 
That nodded o'er the little brook, 

Conversing with the breeze ; 
And see, she traces as she sits 

Warm feelings as they rise, 
And bending o'er the written page, 

She reads with tearful eyes : 

" Dear little primrose-border'd brook, 

To thee the wanderer came, 
And thou of all she left behind, 

Remainest still the same ! 



21 



242 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Death, time, and change have touched all else, 

But thou art glittering here, 
With the same glad and holy hymn 

That soothed my infant ear ! 
Long years have passed since, full of hope, 

I left these simple bowers, 
To dance along life's golden path, 

Amongst exotic flowers ! 
And I have won each brilliant boon 

That woman e'er can gain, 
And each has left within my breast, 

A canker or a stain ! 
Where celebrated waters flow, 

And classic wreaths entwine, 
I've found no stream as bright as thou, 

No flowers so- sweet as thine ! 
And memory turns from gilded halls 

And fame's luxuriant bowers, 
To dwell with childhood's purity, 

And nature's own sweet flowers. 
Genius, and all the gems and plumes 

Of honour I resign ; 
Let piety's sweet living stream 

And humble flowers be mine !" 



LINES, 

SUGGESTED BY THE PERUSAL OF AN ARTICLE IN THE SATURDAY 
MORNING VISITER, ENTITLED, " TO WEEP." 

Yes, I have known what 'tis to weep ! 

To steal at twilight hour 
To where the noxious nightshades creep 

Around the dark green bower ; 
Where low and sad the breezes passed 

The dewy leaves among, 
And some lone bird of plaintive voice 

Hvmned forth its evening song ; — 

When no eye looked upon my brow, 

Except the lone bright star, 
Which shed such tender memories 

Of girlhood's home afar ; 
Which gave me back the loving light 

Of many a speaking eye, 
And many a sweet familiar strain 

Of vocal melody. 

And I have wept, ah, bitterly ! 

O'er joys for ever fled, 
O'er buried loves, and perished hopes, 

And early friendships dead ; 



244 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

O'er almost every human ill 
That flesh and blood can bear, 

While from my wounded spirit gushed 
The billows of despair. 

And then I mused of fearful things, 

Of fortune's cruel sway, 
And of the fearful mysteries 

Of fate's unequal way ; 
And felt myself an outcast bark, 

By treacherous tempests driven ; 
One persecuted by the world, 

And almost wronged by heaven. 

But lo ! a pitying angel came, 

With smile serenely calm, 
And laid upon my writhing heart 

Some leaves of Gilead's balm. 
She led me to Siloah's spring, 

And bathed each cankered wound, - 
And showed me where the Tree of Life 

With healing leaves is found ; 

Then bade me cast away my pride, 

And humbly kneel and pray, 
And from the temple of my soul 

Tear all its gods away, 
And lay them at the Saviour's feet, 

Claiming the childlike mind, 
Which meekly says, " Thy will be done," 

And be my will resigned. 

I sought the Cross, and threw myself 
Beside the sacred tree ; 



J 



LINES. 245 

With all my idols, all my sins, 

With all my misery. 
And still I weep, but now the tears 

That o'er my bosom rain, 
Are cool and sweet, like Siloah's fount, 

And balm for every pain. 



LIXES ADDRESSED TO ft F. M., 

ON THE DEATH OF HIS MOTHER. 

Mourner ! shall I bid thee dry 

The tears of filial grief ? 
Shall I bid thee check the sigh 

That gives thy heart relief? 
Oh, I cannot ! for I know 

That resignation's silent tears 
Are balsam to the wounds of wo, 

Cool balm to cankering cares. 

Thou wilt find no love so pure 

As hers whose love is past ; 
None that can so long endure, 

So fervent to the last. 
Oh, how a pious mother's love 

Will fondly agonize and bear, 
Presenting at the Throne above 

The object of its care. 

Never more to that kind breast 
Wilt thou confide thy cares — 
21* 



246 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

That unwearied home of rest 

Of thine infantine years, 
That fond breast will throb no more 

With hopes, and fears, and cares for thee ; 
Even the latest pang is o'er 

Of poor humanity. 

Closed for ever are those eyes, 

Whose beams of love and joy 
Heightened all the ecstacies 

Of her light-hearted boy ; 
Thou wilt meet the sunny beam 

Of her approving love, no more, 
Or bathe in that consoling stream 

Thy heart with anguish sore. 

Yet, reflect, those eyes have shed 

Full many a tear for thee, 
And many a night beside thy bed, 

Have watched with agony. 
All their watchings now are o'er, 

Their latest tears are dried away ; 
And they shall wake to weep no more 

At the last joyful day. 

Though thou never more may'st hear 

Her kind consoling voice, 
Whispering softly hope and cheer, 

When blighted are thy joys ; 
Though thou ne'er shall clasp again 

The hand that stayed thine infant head, 
Ministered to all thy pain, 

And smoothed thy cradle bed ; 



J 



TO ANN. 247 

Yet, reflect, while in the tomb 

Her mortal body lies, 
The spirit in immortal bloom 

Is blessed in Paradise — 
In that holier world above, 

Where no care, no stain can come ; 
All her pure and tender love 

Lives in heavenly bloom. 

Wouldst thou call her back again 

From Heaven's ecstatic bliss, 
To feel the grief, the care, and pain 

Of such a world as this ? 
All such selfish grief repress, 

And follow to the bright abode, 
Where thou mayst share her blessedness, 

Before the Throne of God. 



TO ANN. 

Look unto God, our Saviour ! 

He careth for thee still, 
Though dark around thee gather 

The spectre forms of ill ; 
Though all thy joys are faded, 

Though all thy springs are dry, 
Though hope's sweet harp is broken, 

And storms are drifting nigh. 

I know thy heart is breaking, 
I know thy brain is wrung, 



248 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Though not a word of bitterness 
Has fallen from thy tongue ; 

I see thee fading meekly, 

Like some bright summer flower, 

The stalk of which is wounded 
Past Nature's healing power. 

Of hearts that thou hast cherished 

In sunny days of old, 
I know that some have perished, 

And some are false and cold ; 
I know that fickle fortune 

Has frowned upon tjiy way, 
That envy and malevolence 

Have marked thee for their prey. 

I know thou sometimes dreamest 

Of the white stone by the brook, 
O'er which the ancient cedar 

Its heavy branches shook ; 
While on the moss beneath it, 

A few small rays of light, 
Like diamonds on a velvet robe, 

Lay flashing, purely bright. 

For ever it was hymning 

A dreamy minstrelsy, 
Like answer of deep waters 

When winds sigh lovingly ; 
And softly from its bosom 

The gentle mourning dove 
Poured forth her pensive music 

Of sorrow and of love. 



J 



TO ANN. 249 

And in thy dream thou thinkest 

Of summer evenings still, 
When the silence of the moonlight 

Lay bright on stream and hill, 
And the star that loves the evening 

Lay trembling in the west, 
Like the first holy thought of love 

In a young maiden's breast. 

Oh, pleasant are thy dreamings, 

For one is with thee there, 
In pride of manly beauty, 

And brow untraced by care ; 
And, hand and heart united, 

Full oft in that sweet bower, 
Ye watched the changing loveliness 

Of twilight's tender hour. 

Ye watch'd the pencilled glories, 

Till every gorgeous hue 
Was changed to mourning drapery, 

Or melted into dew — 
And then bright hopes were gilding 

The west of future years, 
Deemed ye they too would melt away 

To mourning and to tears 1 

He who was then thy lover 

Is on a foreign shore, 
The plumes of that old cedar tree 

Shall beckon thee no more; — 
And thou mayst sit at nightfall 

Beneath a greener tree, 



250 THE FOREST 3IINSTREL. 

But the greenness of the guileless heart 
Can come no more to thee. 

'Tis vain to weep for pleasures 

That never can return ; 
O'er broken hopes and buried joys 

'Tis vanity to mourn. 
Still onward time is speeding 

Along a flow'ry shore ; 
Oh, why look backward weeping 

And miss the joys before ? 

Why do we seek to garner 

The bliss that cannot stay, 
And w T ail for buds of beauty 

That bloom but to decay ? 
Why do we think of naming 

The summer birds our own, 
And rail at heaven in autumn 

That such bright things are flown ? — 

'Twere kind to use earth's treasures 

As wild bees court the flowers, 
To draw from each a honeyed drop 

To cheer the wintry hours ; 
We know that death, and sorrow, 

And chance, and change will come, 
That we are only travellers 

To an eternal home. 

Then look to God our Saviour, 
And leave the world behind ; 

Its brightest things are vanity, 
Thev cannot fill the mind ; 



TO THE NEW YEAR. 251 



The loves of earth arc fleeting, 



And death is ever nigh, 
Its richest joys, its sweetest ties 
Dissolving with a sigh. 



ON THE NEW YEAR. 

'Tis past ! — Another year has signed and sealed 
Its complement of days. We sigh in vain, 

And send regret to plead with the dim past ; — 
They never will return to us again. 

Each came from heaven a radiant messenger, 
Sent by pur holy Father from above, 

To lead us with a gentle discipline, 

Toward the home of holiness and love. 

Have we obeyed the angel ministers, 

And suffered each to bring us nearer heaven? — 
Or have we, with a grave hypocrisy, 

Walked in the way with only one in seven ? 

Or did we turn our backs upon them all, 

Using their precious gifts with thankless breast, 

And throwing from us, most ungraciously, 
Each wholesome fruit that had a bitter taste ? 

And wrestling with them, when by gentle force 
They sought to turn our faces toward the way, 

Ay, wrestling ! and with most rebellious words 
Chiding the God whose mandate they obey ? 



252 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Or did we take the precious things they brought, 
And give them to the idols we adore ? 

To Pleasure — to Ambition — unto Pride, 

Or add them unto Avarice's cankered store ? 

If so, they will be ever unto us 

Accusing spirits, haunting all our ways, 

With mournful mien, and sad reproachful eyes, 
Casting their shadows on each sunny place. 

And in the blessed night, when we would rest 
Upon the balmy bosom of sweet sleep, 

Their shades will pass before s our weary souls, 
And come in restless visions till we weep. 

And there's no angel, .by kind Mercy sent, 
To kiss away the tears of that regret ; 

They dim the eye — they eat into the cheek — 
The hair grows gray on pillows they have wet. 

And they will point us to the dread abode, 

Where all the unransomed of the earth must go ; 

Where deep Despair gnaws ever at the heart, 
And Deathless ! is the word of deepest wo. 

Alas ! that misspent days should haunt us thus, 
Mingling remorse with all our present hours ; 

Blending low wailing notes with Hope's sweet song, 
And twining nightshade with all Memory's flowers, 

Yet still they walk beside us. Still we hear 

Their voices in our dreams. We plead in vain — 

In vain we weep. The irrevocable Past 
Will never give one moment back again. 






ON THE NEW YEAR. 253 

No, — though with that one moment, we might buy 
Eternal happiness. Our struggling prayer 

Returns from the inexorable gate, 

To crush us with one cold word, despair ! 

But Jesus pleads with Justice. Let us come 
\Yith penitence, and humble trust, and lay 

Our misspent days before him — pleading there 
That he will hide them from the judgment day. 

Ay — leave the Past with Jesus — and go forth 
To hail the New Year, with an humble joy. 

He comes with precious gifts of other days, 
Which we may be permitted to enjoy. 

But whether few or many shall be ours 
Is only to the gracious Giver known, — 

Oh ! let us then improve the precious hours, 
And make the proffered blessings all our own. 

Yes, let us make them messengers of joy 
To every child of sorrow, pain, or care ; 

Send them with Gospel light to death-dark souls, 
And unto God, with thankfulness, and prayer. 

Ah ! let us fill their bosoms with warm love, 
For those to whom our love is happiness ; 

And if one creature hate us, let them bear 
To him kind words of brotherhood and peace, 

So shall they walk beside us with sweet smiles, 
To soothe and cheer us through all time to come ; 

Each with a band of gentle memories, 

And pointing to our Father's heavenly home, 
22 



254 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

And when we lie upon the bed of pain, 
Our future with dim shadows overcast, 

Our present agony — Oh ! sweetly then 

Will come these smiling angels of the past, 

To hover round our pillow all day long, 

And chase the phantoms from our reeling brain, 

To weave their form in all our fever dreams, 
And tell us that we have not lived in vain. 

And they will stand beside us at the day 

Of judgment, when all hearts shall fail with fear ; 

When heaven shall roll together like a scroll, 
And the Eternal Majesty appear. 

Then Jesus, who shall judge the quick and dead, 
Shall hear and answer to their humble plea, — 

11 Come, blessed of my Father, reign in bliss, 
For ye have ministered to mine — and Me." 

Let us secure, against that solemn day, 
A crowd of these most blessed witnesses ; 

Earth has no ransom for the sinful soul, 

No pleaders, but the voice of well-spent days. 

And oh ! may every day the New Year gives, 
Be added to out* angels, with its wreath 

Of Faith, and Hope, and fervent Charity, 
Which make our happiness, in life, or death. 



J 



DEATH. 

Death ! 'tis a fearful word 
To those who have no God ; 

No interest in a risen Lord, 
And his redeeming blood. 

'Tis dread to lie at night, 

By conscience sore oppressed ; 

With everlasting wo in sight, 
Its tortures in the breast. 

Death ! word of cold deep gloom 

To beings who profess 
To hope for nought beyond the tomb, 

But night and nothingness. 

To die and pass away 

From this bright joyous sphere, 
To rottenness and foul decay, 

Ha ! what a sting is here. 

Death ! 'tis no thought of joy 
To souls of sins forgiven ; 

Who trust that they have but to die 
To pass from earth to heaven. 



256 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

For oh ! the clinging ties, 

The child, the infant dear, 
The clasping hands, the grief-dim eyes — 

How they would bind us here. 

Yet Christians fear not death ; 

They lay them down in peace, 
Give God their friends, with dying breath, 

And pass where sorrows cease. 



THE SABBATH SCHOOL TEACHERS. (1838.) 

Who are these 1 a peaceful band, 
Meekly moving through the land ; 
With hand unwearied, foot untired, 
And heart with humble fervour fired : 
With heavenward eye and placid cheek, 
W T here no resentment dares to speak, 
Even when derided and reviled, 
Or met by passions fierce and wild ; 
And when from falsehood's burning lips 
The cankering stream of malice drips, 
Although the heart may writhe with pain, 
It sends a blessing back again ; 
And anger lives not in the eye 
Though on its lid the tear-drops lie. 

Patiently they trace the road 
To penury's obscure abode, 
And seek for precious treasures in 
The vile and loathsome haunts of sin. 






THE SABBATH SCHOOL TEACHERS. 257 

Who are these so mild and meek ? 
What rich treasures do they seek ? 
Are they in quest of high renown ? 
Or would they win a regal crown ? 
Or do they seek the airy bays 
That float upon the poet's lays? 
Or is it gold or worldly gain 
For which they feel contempt and pain. 

Ah ! these are worthless in their eyes ; 
They seek a nobler, holier prize. 
They are followers of Him 
Whose eyes with tears were often dim, 
As o'er life's rugged ways he crossed 
Intent to seek and save the lost. 

They seek the young immortal mind, 
The uncultured germs of human kind ; 
The precious gems whose radiant light 
Lies hid in ignorance and frigid night. 
They seek the wretched widow's sons, 
The untaught labourer's little ones ; 
The loathsome drunkard's wretched child, 
Whose haggard brow, and features wild, 
And shrinking form, and timid eye, 
Betrays wild fear and misery. 
Whose tattered garb, and naked feet, 
As stealthily it tracks the street, 
Betray the parent's sin and shame, 
And stamp it on the poor child's name. 

Of all the black and baleful clouds 
That wrap life's morn in mourning shrouds, 
22* 



258 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

The parent of inebriate thirst 
Entails upon his child the worst. 
For though its guileless bosom feel 
The keen contempt like barbed steel ; 
Though it resolve to shun the fire 
That tortures the infuriate sire ; 
Though Genius' germs are in the mind, 
And the young nature warm and kind ; 
Though oft the little bosom ache 
As if the swelling heart would break ; 
Still, still, in visitation dread 
Upon the drooping helpless head, 
In scorn, contempt, derisjon, lies 
The burden of iniquities. 

Some who have hearts to feel for grief, 
Whose hands are prompt to give relief, 
Pass such as vile, polluted things, 
Who merit all their sufferings ; 
While happy children, from their play 
Will drive the ragged one away. 
And if in after life their name 
Ring from the brazen trump of Fame, 
Detraction in her hissing tone 
Will answer, "Ah ! the drunkard's son !" 

Ye who are bartering all for drink, 
Pause, I beseech you ! pause and think ; 
Look at your child, and think how deep 
The guilt for which you ought to weep. 
Its heart is crushed, its name is soiled, 

It is that drunken 's child. 

Its freeborn spirit is bent down, 
Debased by thine unnatural frown ; 



THE SABBATH SCHOOL TEACHERS. 259 

Like guilty slave it walks the streets, 
Shunning the eyes of all it meets ; 
Black guilt pollutes its tender years ; 
Profanity is in its ears ; 
Its face is pale for lack of bread, 
And hopeless tears its young eyes shed. 
Alas ! for such, the orphan state 
Were better than their cruel fate. 

These the kind friends of Mercy seek, 
With hand so strong, and heart so meek, 
To lead them from their native night 
Into the dawn of science' light. 
To place their little timid feet 
Within her gate, where brightly meet 
The toilsome paths, so steep and bright, 
So glorious to young Genius' sight ; 
Which lead to Wisdom's reverend mount, 
To Poesy's enchanted fount, 
To glorious Fame's resplendent gate, 
And all that life has, rich or great. 
To point them to the narrow road 
That leads the humble soul to God ; 
To teach the spirit how to trace 
The path of happiness and peace ; 
Fondly the infant soul to bear, 
Upon the breast of ardent pray'r, 
To Him who bids the little one 
Come fearlessly before his throne, 
And ask the grace which freely given 
Sheds o'er the earth the light of heaven ; 
Enabling e'en the drunkard's child 
To bear its lot with spirit mild, 



260 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

And when reviled with words profane, 
Give no reviling word again, 
But cheerfully obedient still, 
Seek to perform a parent's will ; 
Touching the heart of all who see 
Such patience and humility ; 
And haply from destruction's road 
Winning a parent back to God. 

Who are these, again I ask, 
Who thus perform this blessed task ? 
The toil, the burden, lies on those 
Who leave the bosom of repose, 
While early morning in the east 
Proclaims the holy day of rest ; 
Whose rich instructions, gently given, 
Fall like the balmy dews of heaven, 
Which come with still, but life-fraught pow'r, 
Waking to bloom each embryo flow'r. 
The laurel wreath, and voice of fame, , 
Confer no honours on their name, 
No shining coin their toil repays, 
Nor wear they yet poetic bays. 
It is enough for them to know 
They follow Jesus' steps below ; 
And they receive a rich reward 
In the approval of the Lord, 
And the bright hope that many a soul 
Will ever bless the Sabbath School. 



J 



TO THE BRITISH QUEEN.* (1838.) 

Queen of the ocean ! Thing of power, 

Beauty, and majesty combined ; 
Speeding thy course from shore to shore, 

With soul of fire, and wing of wind ; 

Riding upon the billowy deep, 

And proudly buffeting the waves ; 
As fearless of the storm- wind's sweep, 

The waterspout, the whirlpool's cave. 

Thou glorious creature, speaking forth, 

The infinite majesty of mind ; 
Which gave thy wond'rous fabric birth, 

And bade thee rule the waves and wind. 

Thou now art bathing in the sea, 

Where rolled our Fulton's little boat ; 

How had he smiled triumphantly, 
To see thy perfect fabric float ! 

Poor Fulton, while his spirit mourned, 

Waking by night, toiling by day ; 
Derided, pitied, sneered at, scorned, 

Adventurous Genius' destiny ; 

* The splendid steamship that plied between Liverpool and Bos- 
ton at that time. — [The Editor.] 



262 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Deem'd he, amid his hopes and fears, 
That every lake and noble stream 

Of this broad land, ere thirty years, 

Should own the potent power of steam ! 

That such a glorious thing as thou, 
Of peerless mould and royal name, 

Shouldst cross the ocean to bestow 
A splendid laurel to his fame ? 

Yet so it is. In bed of sand 

Soft Indolence his name may trace ; 

Poor Genius, with a iceary hand, 
Inscribed the everduring brass ! 

Proud floating castle- of the deep, 

Heaven speed thee on thy homeward way ; 

For even thee, His hand must keep 
Who holds the reins of destiny. 

Rich emblem of the royal maid, 

Whose blazoned title suits thee well, 

A songstress from Columbia's shade, 
A warbler of the wild- wood dell, 

I bid thee God speed, and with thee bear 
To her who rules by land and flood, 

The echo of a woman's prayer, 

Breathed in the free, eternal Wood. 

That she may find the gallant bark, 

Whose onward course 'tis hers to guide 



TO THE BRITISH QUEEN. 263 

Along the current, strong and dark, 
Of Time's resistless billowy tide, 

Able to baffle wind and wave, 

With mighty engine, gallant crew, 
Impervious hull, and rigging brave, 

And gilding glorious to the view ; 

Steady and upright on her way, 

Queen of the Ocean, as of yore ; 
Obedient to her gentle sway, 

And bright with honour, evermore. 

May He who rules o'er ships and worlds, 
Smooth the rough ocean for her prow, 

And guide her safe o'er shoal and whirl, 
When breakers roar beneath her bow. 

For pilot's care, and helmsman's skill, 
And sails and anchors, all are vain, 

Unless His hand be present still, 
To guide the vessel o'er the main. 

God speed thee ! Britain's royal maid, 

Thou young and lovely Queen of Hearts ! 

Give thee his wisdom to thine aid, 

And shield thee from misfortune's darts. 

Make peace and joy thy diadem, 

And wreath it high with power and fame, 

While piety's resplendent gem, 

Sheds o'er thy brow its heavenly flame. 



264 THE FOREST MINSTREL. 

Preserve thee humble, pure, and good, 
While long and glorious years of time 

Shall waft thee o'er life's stormy flood 
To joy's serene and holy clime. 



THE END.